Two weeks ago, some extreme right-winger posted on Facebook a picture of Israeli soldiers armed with the finest weaponry and wearing tefillin on their heads and arms. The picture was accompanied by a defiant caption: “I heard this incredible photo has the power to infuriate the empty head of every typical Tel Aviv leftist.”
And so, as one of those, I got infuriated and posted the picture on Facebook. I wrote that this picture of “armed pagans” was scary.
Almost immediately I began receiving a stream, and soon a torrent, of insults — hundreds of them. There were wishes for my death and murder threats. The famous rapper known as the Shadow even wrote that I’m “the very definition of a destroyer of Israel, a self-hating Jew who lives in Israel.”
He called on his flock to do a job on me, and so it seems they did. In no time Facebook themselves (yes, themselves) got involved in the matter. (I write in the plural because they think of themselves as God, and of course God in Hebrew is written in the plural.) They informed me they were removing my post because people found it offensive.
And so, of the messages I received, I realized that the fury against me arose for two reasons: one, because “IDF soldiers are our sons” (as if I and my son were never IDF soldiers). The second reason was the main one. As one of theme wrote, “Shame on you! How dare you call IDF soldiers ‘fuckers.’”
Is there no limit to ignorance and stupidity? So I sat down and sent another post. Once again I wrote that this picture of the “armed pagans” scared me, but I had to add an explanation — that in Hebrew armed means armed; I wasn’t referring to the other meaning of that word. Facebook didn’t view this new post as offensive and didn’t remove it.
In the meantime, the deluge of insults continued; there were five types: 1. Go to Gaza, Syria, ISIS. 2. Homo, faggot. 3. It’s a shame the Nazis didn’t finish your family off. (They killed and killed, don’t worry.) 4. You should die from cancer in horrible suffering. 5. You should be killed/we’ll be waiting for you in front of your house.
Since I didn’t know what to do with such a violent attack, I posted a quote that included the name of one of the abusers, who expressed regret that the Nazis didn’t kill my whole family. He also called for me to be shot, in his words, as all Arabs should be.
Facebook immediately informed me that they were removing my post with the quote, because people found it offensive. They also punished me for posting a quote from someone who called for my murder — they gave me a 24-hour suspension.
But that’s not the end of the story. When the 24 hours ended, I received a message saying Facebook only allows you to open an account “under the name that you are known by,” and the only way to do that was by sending them a copy of my passport, ID card or driver’s license.
I tried to write or speak to someone at Facebook, but for Facebook, I realized very quickly, just as with God, you can talk but you can’t receive an answer — except for a list of thou shalts and thou shalt nots. In the end I surrendered and sent them a copy of my passport; they let me back in but changed my name to Yaacov Kobi Niv and added the punishment of being unable to write and respond for another 24 hours.
That entire time the Facebook pages of the people who insulted me and threatened to kill me continued to operate as if nothing had happened — and they’re still insulting and threatening to kill everyone who in their eyes is a “leftist homo traitor.”
Facebook, in its attempts to eradicate offensiveness, works based on quantity. If three people complain about a post calling for murder, Facebook will respond that it didn’t find the post offensive. But if, say, 250 people complain that my post was offensive, even if all I wrote was that carrots are healthy, Facebook will remove it — and maybe even award penalty kicks against me.
That’s how the Facebook people work in the service of bullying. After all, Facebook is the postmodern town square, and as masters of the land, when they see 400 people with sticks and knives chasing someone they grab the one being chased, lock him up and punish him. Facebook too, it turns out, is the opiate of the masses.
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