Draconian Facebook censorship may have saved Israelis from themselves

[Update: Part II can be found here.*]

Israel’s “Facebook generation” is at war in Gaza, or so we are told. And indeed, Israeli soldiers have landed in hot water in the past based on what they chose to upload to the social media site from their bases.

But this time around, it’s not just members of the IDF who are under scrutiny. That much became apparent after the infamous “Sderot cinema” controversy portrayed the residents of the embattled border town like the residents of Washington, D.C. at the Battle of Bull Run. This time, the entire country is fair game not just to Hamas rockets but to the forces of political correctness and the accompanying battle for international hearts and minds.

So I am happy to report Facebook might have just saved the entire country from some embarrassment.

Last week at work, I came across an article on The Times of Israel titled “Israeli women do Gaza strip for IDF”. The headline doesn’t leave much to the imagination, but I was interested enough to learn more that I saved the link for later (remember, I was at work and had no intention of actually investigating while there).

This evening, I attempted to revisit the page and was surprised to discover that while its text remains available, the source material is not:

Facebook censorship

[I am going to refrain from commenting on Beyo’s logic, which could have just as easily and perhaps more fruitfully been applied to the combination of Israeli minds and the military front.] [OK fine, let’s just say this whole episode casts the “bountiful minds” assertion into doubt in more ways than one.]

Indeed, minimal investigation revealed that the entire Facebook page, once available at https://www.facebook.com/StandingWithIDF, no longer actually exists.

All is not lost. For example, Jezebel screenshotted a number of entries for posterity (pun intended). Still, I decided it was time for some investigative journalism.

I tried Google – while the page attracted plenty of coverage when it first went up, I could find nothing published more recently than three days ago, and no explanation for where it went. So I decided to reach out to the site’s creator, mentioned in the Times of Israel article, and ask if he knew what had become of his lovechild.

He was easy enough to locate on Facebook, but considerably more difficult to actually message. You see, my inquiry included a link to the erstwhile Facebook page, and as a consequence, this:

Facebook editing

Of course, this could just be typical Facebook censorship of nudity in any form, but “unsafe” does seem to imply something more serious has transpired. If so, it would seem Facebook is not a huge fan of Israeli fannies** emblazoned with the words “IDF” and decided to take down the page as “unsafe”. I suppose the problem might have been the guns, but Facebook wouldn’t dare violate these Israelis’ second amendment rights.***

I revised my message to conform to the guidelines and still hope to find out if the creator knows any more about this.

In the meantime (assuming I ever hear back, which is doubtful — especially if he ventures over to my page and discovers this post [hi Gavriel! I like Israel, don’t worry]), I will gladly point out that Facebook might have just saved Israel from further social media embarrassment. I’m all for this sort of project in peacetime, but I’d also be the first to admit this might not be the time to trumpet pictures of attached body parts.


*Part II can also be found here.

**in the American sense

***yes, I am aware of all the problems with this joke

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