April 1, 2020

N.J. Governor Praises Facebook for Removing ‘Anti-Semitic’ Page

JERSEY CITY, NEW JERSEY - MAY 13: Governor of New Jersey Phil Murphy speaks onstage during the Liberty Science Center Genius Gala 8 at Liberty Science Center on May 13, 2019 in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for Liberty Science Center )

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy issued a joint statement with Attorney General Gurbir Grewal praising Facebook for removing an “anti-Semitic, racist group page.”

The page, Rise Up Ocean County, was established as a public forum to criticize rapid housing growth in Ocean County, N.J. However, the page was plagued with comments blaming Orthodox Jews for the increased housing. For example, one commenter wrote, “I can’t stand what those Hassidics get away with. I would trust a rat before a Hassidic.” A different commenter wrote, “We need to get rid of them like Hitler did.”

Facebook spokesman Daniel Roberts told NBC News, “We have determined this page violates our community standards for hate speech and have removed it from the platform.”

Murphy and Grewal said in a joint statement, “We appreciate that Facebook has now decided that this kind of hateful rhetoric has no place on its platform.”

They added, “The Murphy administration will continue to call out hate whenever and wherever we see it, we will persist in demanding meaningful reforms to address the proliferation of hate online, and we will continue working to make New Jersey safe and inclusive for all of our residents.”

Anti-Defamation League (ADL) New York/New Jersey Northeast Division Vice President Evan Bernstein similarly said in a statement, “ADL has repeatedly expressed serious concern regarding the anti-Semitic and racist content on this page, which has caused fear and distress among members of the Orthodox Jewish community in New Jersey. We commend the efforts by Attorney General Grewal and Governor Murphy to expose and advocate for the removal of this hateful rhetoric from Facebook.”

The Rise Up Ocean County website posted a statement from its anonymous administrators stating they will appeal Facebook’s decision, arguing the page is public and they remove hateful posts.

“As recent as one month ago, Facebook did remove two posts, both somewhat dated, that moved our page quality from green to red,” the statement read. “Since that time, we have received no further violations of community standards and as such, the decision to unpublish the page is arbitrary and capricious.”