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LinkedIn issues warning to a site shaming pro-Palestinian sentiment.

Online posts asking to “#PrayForPalestine.” Entreaties for peace. Pleas to “Free Gaza.”

Over the last 10 days, a website called anti-israel-employees.com published more than 17,000 posts, which one of the people behind the site said had been taken mainly from LinkedIn. The site, which claimed to be a “global live feed of potentially supportive sentiments for terrorism among company employees,” listed thousands of people and grouped them by their workplaces, in an apparent attempt to shame them for their sentiments on the Israeli-Hamas conflict.

The website, which was taken offline for a day before being migrated to a new web address, named employees of major international corporations, including Amazon, Mastercard and Ernst & Young, and shared their profile photos, LinkedIn pages and posts.

Itai Liptz, a hedge fund manager who said he was one of the people behind the original site, said that its goal was to “expose people who supported Hamas publicly.”

“We wanted to have it documented and a record,” he said. “If I work in this company, but I see my friends on LinkedIn celebrating and praising Hamas, then I’m not feeling safe.”

But the site also highlighted posts from people who did not explicitly show support for Hamas, according to posts seen by The New York Times. Some people used hash tags like “#GazaUnderAttack” or sought to draw attention to the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip. The site asked users to submit posts that they believed should be exposed, and included a numeric “hate score” for companies.

The site, which was created 10 days ago, comes amid a wider debate over online expression during a fraught international conflict. Similar lists have also been created to track college students who have spoken out in support of Palestinians, while Meta, the parent company of Instagram and Facebook, said it took down nearly 800,000 pieces of Hebrew and Arabic language content for violating its rules in the three days after the Hamas attacks on Oct. 7.

Some people who were highlighted on the site have already deleted their LinkedIn posts or their LinkedIn profiles. Mr. Liptz, who said he did not expect the site to become as popular as it did after spreading via WhatsApp groups, called the far-ranging capture of all pro-Palestinian sentiment a mistake.

“If somebody says ‘Free Palestine’ that is totally OK, and we shouldn’t put it on our website,” he said on Saturday. “We just want to make sure the filters are there because they have the right to say that.”

The site, however, was back online on Sunday at a new web address and still displayed the posts and names of people that Mr. Liptz had said would be removed. Now located at an Israel-specific domain, the site is being overseen by Guy Ophir, a lawyer in Israel, who said the team moved it to a new address after receiving a cease-and-desist letter from LinkedIn.

A spokesman for LinkedIn said the company determined that the site had used automated programs to extract content from the platform, a practice known as scraping, which is a violation of its rules. Mr. Liptz denied that his site extracted the LinkedIn information through scraping, while Mr. Ophir said he believed that LinkedIn was trying to infringe on his right to free speech.

“We are not going to remove the website,” he said. “We are willing to fight them here.”

The site has been a subject of discussion at Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, and LinkedIn, where employees have expressed concern about the chilling effect it could have on online speech.

“People are scraping pro-Palestine LinkedIn posts and adding them to a database of ‘terror supporters,’” one employee wrote last Wednesday in a note on an internal Meta message board that was seen by The Times.

Other Meta employees were in disbelief that expressing support for Palestine was equated with supporting terrorism.

“The lack of understanding,” a Meta employee wrote, “is beyond insensitive and cruel.”

Sumber: www.nytimes.com