Facebook omits Israel, flag from Rio Olympics page

Olympic Committee of Israel -- Facebook leaves Israeli flag off site of participating nations
Olympic Committee of Israel — Wikimedia Commons

On Friday, Haaretz reported that Facebook, the social media site increasingly known as the world’s most dangerous censor, managed to omit Israel and its flag from a special page set up in honor of the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Oded Yaron explained:

The special section includes an icon of the Olympic torch that, when clicked, gives the user access to a set of tools Facebook developed in the games’ honor. One of those tools allows the user to add a frame with participating countries’ flags to pictures or videos that he posts to Facebook. The tool uses the MSQRD app, which Facebook purchased.

But the Ynet website reported that Israeli surfers soon noticed the Israeli flag was missing from the menu that enables users to select a flag to include in their frame. Instead of Israel, the English-language list offered “independent athletes,” while the Hebrew-language list offered nothing at all.

The Israeli Olympic Committee verified the report and committee spokeswoman Bruria Bigman said the panel began getting complaints from users on Wednesday evening about the missing flag.

“Already yesterday the Olympic Committee sent an urgent request to Facebook to add Israel and its flag to the list of participating countries. The public is invited to visit the OCI page to express support for the members of the Israeli delegation,” Ynet was told.

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Oddly enough, Israel was the only country left off the list, the report added.

Haaretz said the issue had been corrected by Thursday afternoon.  A post at Arutz Sheva said that it’s not clear if the omission was an intentional slight or a statement against Israel.

In July, the nation’s security minister called the social media giant a “monster” that was sabotaging anti-terror efforts.


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