Simple Facebook question raises problems around the world

Quoted in CNN

Facebook recently changed its listing for the Golan Heights — which Israel captured from Syria in 1967 — so users there could choose to say whether they live in Israel or Syria.

It was responding to pressure from a pro-Israel group called HonestReporting — and from Facebook users who set up a group on the site itself called “Facebook, Golan Residents Live in Israel, not Syria.”

“It is not for Facebook to decide the national origin of Golan residents,” the group says on its page.

Facebook may have pleased pro-Israel users there by giving them the choice to say where they live, but not all Syrians were happy about the change.

“I think Facebook sort of shot itself in the foot to make it optional for the Golan to say this is part of Israel,” said Ammar Abdulhamid, a Syrian scholar based in the United States.

“This is against international law,” he said.

And the Golan is only the tip of the iceberg.