Right-wing activists have exploited Facebook's protocol that prohibits organizations from opening personal profiles to report and block the profiles of several leftist groups, Haaretz has learned.
The move, initiated by activists linked to the far-right leader Baruch Marzel, has thus far led to the blocking of the profile pages of groups including Machsom Watch, Yesh Gvul and Anarchists against the Wall.
Raaya Aharoni, a spokesperson for "Machsom Watch," a women's organization that monitors human rights breaches at West Bank checkpoints, told Haaretz that "there is no question that these right-wing organizations have taken advantage of Facebook's policy. I see this as an active and violent act aimed at silencing a voice that they do not agree with. The right is trying to prevent human rights groups from continuing operations, and they will use any means at their disposal to do so."
"These organizations shouldn't be surprised if their actions have a boomerang effect, and we will just find an even better, foolproof way to garner exposure," Aharoni added.
Although their reports were based on Facebook protocol, the right-wing activists who turned the groups in had a clear agenda. In fact, on Marzel's site, activists put up a "guide to complaints about traitorous profiles," which instructs users on how to report and get personal profiles blocked.
When asked to comment about the reporting of Facebook policy violations, Marzel told Haaretz that he had never actually reported a group, but he did hear about the initiative.
"I have heard people praising this initiative for the past couple of days, but there is a small problem - I don't know what this Facebook is," Marzel said, adding "I know how to open my e-mail and to confirm that I received it, but nothing beyond that. I am old-fashioned." By yesterday evening, some of the web pages had returned to the social network website.