Shutterstock
Shutterstock
Navigate to News section

Facebook Decides on Israel’s Permanent Borders

The social network blocked ads to Israelis living east of the Green Line

by
Liel Leibovitz
March 16, 2018
Shutterstock
Shutterstock

Earlier this year, an Israeli site wanted to advertise its offerings to readers in Jerusalem. This being 2018, and all of advertising now held exclusively in Facebook’s claws, the site contacted the social media behemoth and paid for a campaign. When the time came to drill down on the ads’ geo-targeting, however, something strange happened: Facebook wouldn’t let them select any Jerusalem neighborhood east of the Green Line.

“Whoever is living in Jerusalem’s Arnona neighborhood has definitely seen our ads,” a spokesperson for the site told the Israeli press this week, “but anyone living in Har Homa, right next door, has never come across them.”

Puzzled by Facebook’s decision to define Israel’s borders, Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Tzipi Hotovely, wrote to the company demanding an explanation. “It’s inconceivable that Facebook takes neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem off the map,” she wrote. “We cannot consent to a situation in which a commercial corporation determines the borders of the state of Israel.”

Facebook was quick to reply, apologize, and correct the mistake. Still, according to the Israeli newspaper Yisrael Ha’Yom, Facebook still refuses to place ads targeting Israelis living in Judea, Samaria, or the Golan Heights.

Liel Leibovitz is editor at large for Tablet Magazine and a host of its weekly culture podcast Unorthodox and daily Talmud podcast Take One.

Join Us!

All of Tablet’s latest stories—in your inbox, daily. Subscribe to our newsletter.

Please enter a valid email
Check iconSuccess! You have subscribed to the Tablet newsletter.