There has been much criticism lobbed at Facebook over the course of the last week, much of it expected after ProPublica published a report that Facebook algorithms gave unscrupulous advertisers the ability to target ads to 2300 Jew haters. Anyone who knows me is well aware that I have very little tolerance for hate and antisemitism, but the social media platform has been vilified enough. After the initial criticism subsided, the attacks against them have now multiplied, becoming self-righteous, unfair and serving very little constructive purpose.
Facebook has always taken proactive steps to combat hate groups, fully admitting the difficulties of finding and rooting out every piece of hate speech, and despite those that continue to find creative ways to bypass their filters, they never stop putting new safeguards in place to tackle the problem. The Corporation is now fully aware that advertisers had the ability to target these antisemitic users and have taken full corporate responsibility. Over the course of the last year, Facebook has been scapegoated and accused of everything under the sun, including allowing the Russian government through internet trolls to use the site to spread misinformation and meddle in the US elections, despite the fact that they shut down the perpetrators as quickly and as often as they were uncovered. Using that logic, we should place blame at the feet of every newspaper, media outlet and social media platform, yet, that would be unfair because the Russians are savvy operators who have strategically and successfully infiltrated media outlets and entities across the globe.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is Jewish and while I don’t know him personally, I would speculate that he is no fan of hate speech. Those of us who grew up with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg can attest to the fact that she is as fine a person as they come, a wonderful mother and a proud Jew as well as a moral example to so many throughout the world, they deserve a break. In the spirit of Rosh Hashanah and the High Holy Days, let us recognize that none of us are infallible, that mistakes happen in every corporate environment and give them some credit for expeditiously taking the steps to resolve the problem in order to keep Facebook safe for the two billion people on this planet that utilize the site.