France’s online forums, those virtual bastions of Liberté, Égalité, and Fraternité, are the unsung victims of Operation Protective Edge: with three times the amount of user-generated comments, most of them heinous, forum moderators are collapsing under the weight of inane vitriol.
“As soon as you talk about Israel, it crystallizes all passions, with up to 20,000 or 30,000 comments sometimes after an article, of which we will only let five to 10 percent through,” David Corchia of Concileo, a company that helps manage the websites for such leading newspapers as Le Figaro and Liberation, told the AFP. The average comment rejection rate in stories unrelated to Israel, he added, was much lower, hovering at around 25 to 40 percent.
The French aren’t just being polite: with the country’s laws curbing anti-Semitic, racist, and violent speech, comments that fan prejudice or advocate bloodletting aren’t just mean-spirited but downright illegal.
And, apparently, unique to stories about the Jewish state: “This sickening content is peculiar to this conflict,” said Jeremie Mani of Netino, another comment-moderating enterprise that works with Le Monde and other media outlets. “The war in Syria does not trigger these kinds of comments.” How truly blessed we are.