AG: Cyber dept. got social media to remove over 10,000 terror-related posts

A man holds a laptop computer as cyber code is projected on him

A man holds a laptop computer as cyber code is projected on him. (photo credit: KACPER PEMPEL/REUTERS)

The Justice Ministry's Cyber Department got social media platforms to take down over 10,000 posts by terrorists or supporting terror in 2017, Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit said on Wednesday.

Mandelblit was speaking at an international terror conference in Jerusalem organized by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan explaining how Israel tried to balance between national security and human rights in a major 2016 terrorism law it passed.

He said that an “especially difficult issue we dealt with was how to structure our response to acts of incitement to terrorism…This is difficult due to its implications for free speech.”

Elaborating, he said, "The phenomenon of incitement to terrorism and radicalization is especially common through social media and the internet, and poses a serious challenge to democratic states."

The attorney-general stated that, "it was decided that speech, which is directly intended to result in an act of terror, is an offense by itself. However, speech which does not call out for acts of terrorism directly, but supports and glorifies them, is considered an offense only if there is a real possibility that such expression of support will result in terrorism."

"In any case, any indictment for such an offense must be approved by the Attorney General of Israel himself," he added.