Facebook Launches Hebrew And Arabic Versions

With over 40 languages now available on Facebook, the company has announced availability of the site in both Hebrew and Arabic. If you haven’t tested out the site in either of these languages, I highly recommend it as the site is flipped backwards. There was a huge demand for the site to be translated into Arabic and numerous friends in Israel had complained to me about the site not being in Hebrew.

There is also substantial controversy surrounding protest and hate groups between Israel and other countries on the site. I constantly receive emails and comments from people suggesting that Facebook has a bias toward one group or another. Honestly, I don’t believe they have a bias one way or the other but I definitely think Facebook’s decision to launch both languages at the same time was strategic.

Had Facebook chosen to launch one language before the other, there would have been substantial speculation that Facebook had made a conscious decision to do so. Prior language launches haven’t attracted much attention but the Arabic and Hebrew versions have attracted much more buzz. My guess is that since Facebook had to reformat their site for those languages, there has been a bit more coverage.

It’s easy to dismiss the controversy between Arab (primarily Palestinian, etc) and Israeli groups on Facebook but there is some truth to the controversy. During the Gaza war, both sides took to Facebook, generating more buzz than any previous conflict in the region. Millions of users installed applications that expressed support of one side or the other.

There have also been numerous cases of Facebook groups being hacked and modified to include hateful messages. While the launch of the Arabic and Hebrew languages on Facebook doesn’t require conspiracy theory discussion, it’s clear that real world conflicts are playing out on the site as well. Go use the Facebook translations application and check out the site in Hebrew and Arabic.