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Faceboo​k Faces a Quandary

April 9, 2009 By:
Aaron Passman, JE Feature
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A quiz on the popular social-networking site Facebook asking "What Religion Are You?" contains results for Jews that could be labeled offensive and anti-Semitic.

Respondents can fall into one of seven "faith" categories, including Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Atheist, Buddhist or Wiccan. The quiz contains seven multiple-choice questions, many of which have the option of anti-Semitic responses.

For example, one question asks, "You hear a nickel rolling across the floor. What do you do?" with one possible response being "I would laugh at the Jew who is chasing it."

If, after answering all seven questions, the person taking the quiz is determined to be Jewish, the screen reads: "You are cheap, smart, rich, and most people hate you. You are great at business and know how to make money. Everyone blames you for everything, and you blame them. You are probably very Conservative."

Quizzes and other such items are often created not by Facebook, but by a third party responsible for its content.

Content developers can use Facebook for free to host their application, though these may often be supported by advertising found directly alongside the material, charging for the service or leading the user to another site supported by ad revenue.

The Facebook "faith" quiz can be taken free of charge.

According to an e-mail from Facebook's communications officer, Barry Schnitt, the developers of these applications are required to conform to content standards that Facebook enforces through certain policies on those applications.

Schnitt's e-mail said that various parts of the quiz application violate Facebook policies, "and we have asked the developer to change the 'app' to come into compliance. If they do not comply, further action may be taken against the 'app,' including removing it from Facebook."

Barry Morrison, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, said that while neither the ADL's local nor national office had thus far received complaints about the quiz, his group usually directs people to take their complaints first to the service provider before the ADL becomes involved.

However, he said that he was confident that the popular Web site would respond responsibly and appropriately.

While the offending questionnaire was created by a Facebook user, the app itself was created by HotBerry Entertainment, Inc. Companies such as HotBerry create the vehicle for any user to then plug in their own content, but users are responsible for creating content that adheres to Facebook's standards.

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