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Facebook Jihad By: Robert Spencer
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, March 06, 2009




The jihad against Israel rages not just in Gaza, but worldwide, including on the Internet -- and even on Facebook, as a 14-year-old American Jew named Todd Snider recently discovered. In July 2008, Snider started a Facebook group called “I Wonder How Quickly I Can Find 1,000,000 People Who Support Israel.” This group quickly grew to become the largest pro-Israel group on Facebook, with over 180,000 members. But then, unexpectedly, this group gave this enterprising and dedicated young man a lesson in jihadist intimidation and thuggery -- including an unpleasant taste of how Western bureaucrats abet that thuggery, whether out of indifference or complicity.

On February 15, 2009, Snider recounts, “my inbox was suddenly flooded with messages.” His pro-Israel Facebook group had been hacked and destroyed by a pro-Hizballah group calling itself “Lebanese Shee’a Hackers.” The hackers completely erased the original site content and replaced it with pro-jihad, anti-Israel propaganda – while Facebook authorities stood by and let it all happen, answering Snider’s repeated entreaties for help with bland form letters.

The hackers gained administrative privileges to the “I Wonder How Quickly I Can Find 1,000,000 People Who Support Israel” group through the account of a co-administrator who had fallen for an illegal Internet phishing scheme, in which she was prompted to enter her account information and did so. They changed the group picture to one of Hassan Nasrallah and wrote the following obscene message in the Group Description section:

WELCOME TO BINT JBEIL, SOUTH LEBANON!

WELCOME TO BINT JBEIL, SOUTH LEBANON!

WELCOME TO BINT JBEIL, SOUTH LEBANON!

DEAR ADMINS,

DON’T WASTE MY AND YOUR TIME , LEAVE THIS GROUP ITS BETTER FOR BOTH THIS IS THE LAST TIME ILL EDIT YOU INFO , NEXT TIME

AND IN A COUPLE OF HOURS YOU WILL LOOSE EVERYTHING RELATED TO THIS GROUP.

IM TIRED NOW I WANT TO GO TO SLEEP AND ILL PUT THAT BANANA IN YOUR MOTHER’S ASS AND AGAIN I RECOMMEND YOU TO LEAVE THE GROUP TOMORROW I MAY ERASE EVRYTHING .

GOOD NIGHT ASSHOLES

Sayed Hassan Nasrallah, Leader of Hezbollah:

(2008)

‘O’ you Zionists!, O’ you murderers!, O’ you rapists!,

By God i swear, in the coming war,

we will confront you in a manner

you have never faced in your entire existence!’ “

(Bint Jbeil is the Lebanese city on the border with Israel that is known as the “Capital of Hizballah.”)

And in a classic example of projection, the hacked group page now claims that the Jewish Internet Defense Force “is attacking our groups and changing the Group Description and Recent News with threatening letters and offensive slurs especially during Ghaza [sic] war when many pro-arab group even the groups which donate help to children of Ghaza disappered [sic]. and now they are closing some nasrallah-hezbollah groups with silly reports.”

Shortly after their group page was destroyed, Snider and many of the original group members began to write to Facebook asking that they take action against the hackers. Snider says that Facebook received “hundreds of messages and complaints” from group members, “including some to high-ranking officials through connections.” However, “Facebook,” Snider notes, “seems entirely unaffected by this type of pressure, likely because many of its employees themselves are anti-Israel.” In response to this flood of complaints, Facebook staffers repeatedly sent back the same bland form letter:

Hi _____,

Thank you for reporting this potential abuse on our site. We will review the reported material and remove anything that violates our Terms of Use. If warranted, we will either warn or disable the user responsible.

In the future, please feel free to use the “Report” links located near most pieces of content on the site to report offensive material to Facebook. If you are not able to use the “Report” links for any reason, please write to us at privacy@facebook.com with a link to the material and a description of the problem. We will then review this material and take appropriate action based on our Terms of Use. Rest assured that these reports will be kept confidential.

Remember that you should also contact the authorities if you ever feel threatened by something you see on the site.

Thanks for contacting Facebook,

________

User Operations

Facebook

Rather than acquiesce to Facebook’s indifference, Snider and others involved with the group began, he says, “to resort to hunting the ‘hackers’ ourselves.” Snider and his partners in the group began an elaborate game of chase with the hackers, deactivating their accounts only to find them returning under different names and resorting to complex stratagems to avoid detection and deletion. This required Snider to search through the accounts of all 180,000 members in order to find the hackers, and even then it wasn’t always obvious who they were; finally he decided instead to form a new group with the same name as the old one.

The new group went live on March 3, but so far has only 3,300 members. The old, hacked group retains 179,000 members – most of whom joined the pro-Israel group and are unaware of how it has been compromised. Snider has asked all members to leave the old group and join the new one, but it isn’t easy to reach all of them. “Unfortunately,” explains Snider, “it is impossible for me to message all of my members, and with the original group page being constantly changed and restored as a result of the ‘hackers,’ it will be very difficult to attain all of the old members in the new group.”

Todd Snider’s original goal was commendable. He began the “I Wonder How Quickly I Can Find 1,000,000 People Who Support Israel” group after he returned from an eleven-day trip to Israel for his Bar Mitzvah. “I was encouraged, as a Jew,” he explained, “to support our homeland and America’s best ally.” He noted that on Facebook, Israel and Jews had many detractors and few defenders; he started the group to show that pro-Israel and pro-Judaism voices did exist, and would not be silent.

Yet now Facebook is effectively allowing such voices to be silenced, including Todd Snider’s, by not moving energetically against the Internet jihadists who destroyed his group. Facebook officials should allow Snider to recoup the original group page and recover the group members who originally signed up to show their support for Israel.

To do anything less than this would not just be a disservice to Todd Snider and the 180,000 people who joined his group; it would be to acquiesce, in one corner of the Internet, to yet another small victory for the jihad.

To read Part II to this story, click here.


Robert Spencer is a scholar of Islamic history, theology, and law and the director of Jihad Watch. He is the author of eight books, eleven monographs, and hundreds of articles about jihad and Islamic terrorism, including the New York Times Bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book, Stealth Jihad: How Radical Islam is Subverting America without Guns or Bombs, is available now from Regnery Publishing.



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