Facebook At Center Of Mid East Conflict

    March 17, 2008

Facebook has angered Jewish settlers by listing them as residents of "Palestine", forcing the social networking site to allow users to change themselves back to Israel.

Facebook users living in Maale Adumim, Ariel and other Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank protested when the site automatically listed their hometowns as being in "Palestine." Settlers have accused Facebook of having a political agenda.

"I was surprised and disappointed to find that my hometown of Ariel is listed in Facebook as being part of a country called ‘Palestine,’" wrote Ari Zimmerman in a posting on Facebook Reuters reported. "I am a citizen of Israel, as are all of the other residents of Ariel. We do not live in ‘Palestine’, nor does anyone else.

Brandee Barker, Facebook’s director of communications said users living in the major settlements can choose being listed as residents of Israel or Palestine. "Facebook users in the Israeli West Bank settlements of Maale Adumim, Beitar Illit, and Ariel can now choose between Israel and Palestine," Barker said.

Barker said around 18 West Bank settlements are currently listed on Facebook and that more would be added in the future, allowing users to choose Israel or Palestine as their place of residence.