Facebook Blocks Israeli Group for Alleged 'Sexual Activity'

Published February 9th, 2021 - 10:00 GMT
Facebook Blocks Israeli Group for Alleged 'Sexual Activity'
Secret Tel Aviv and Facebook have had a past contentious relationship. (Shutterstock)
The popular Facebook group Secret Tel Aviv was blocked by the social media giant on Monday for allegedly containing "sexual activity," according to an N12 report.
 
Speaking with N12, the founder of Secret Tel Aviv, a group which includes everything from job opportunities, information on tourist activities and nightlife, to dating, said that the removal of the group was due to the threat of competition it poses to Facebook.
 
Consisting of over 300,000 members, Secret Tel Aviv had helped build a community of local Israelis and visitors from overseas. Group founder Johnny Stark, talking with the N12-affilaited magazine NEXTER, said that his group was a threat to Facebook's hegemony in Israel, and as a result, following the launch of a new job search website associated with Secret Tel Aviv, the popular group was taken down within 24 hours.
 
The official reason given by Facebook for blocking Secret Tel Aviv, according to Stark, was a post approved in March 2020 that featured men's running groups and pages identified by Facebook's algorithm as "pornographic."
 
"Could it be that Facebook has shut us down because we're competing with the social network's job board?," Stark said.
 
Stark further postulated that Facebook opened its own buying and selling, dating and job search pages in order to take away business from its groups, and prevent them from becoming viral and profitable.
 
Secret Tel Aviv and Facebook have had a past contentious relationship. In May 2020, Stark made the assertion that Facebook purposely changed its algorithm to limit the group's exposure on the platform, as an attempt to eliminate it. Despite this, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has personally joined and commented on the group in the past.

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