[News] Facebook censors Palestinian news outlet
news at freedomarchives.org
Tue Mar 27 14:15:09 EDT 2018
Facebook censors Palestinian news outlet
Ali Abunimah <https://electronicintifada.net/people/ali-abunimah> - 26
Facebook has shut down the page <https://www.facebook.com/safaps> of a
major Palestinian news outlet, in what appears to be a blatant instance
of pro-Israel censorship.
The Safa Palestinian Press Agency reported that on Saturday
<http://safa.ps/post/232169> its page, which had more than 1.3 million
followers, was shut down without warning.
As part of its unabated campaign against pro-Palestinian content on
its platform, Facebook removes the page of the Palestinian Press
Agency (SAFA) today. pic.twitter.com/0jeytF12XP
— Quds News Network (@QudsNen) March 24, 2018
According to Safa, the next day its website was hijacked and replaced
with threatening statements, before the publication’s technologists
managed to restore control of their site.
On Monday, Safa reported <http://safa.ps/post/232218> that its page on
the photo sharing network Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, had
also been shut down without any warning. The account had more than
This appears to be an escalation of Facebook’s persistent blocking of
the accounts of Palestinian journalists and publications.
Safa reports a mix of local and international news typical of other news
organizations and asserts it has done nothing to violate Facebook’s rules.
According <http://safa.ps/post/232169> to Safa, Facebook has in recent
days shut down about 100 accounts belonging to Palestinian media and
In a statement <http://safaps.com/post/232226> Monday, Safa managers
condemned Facebook’s action as a continuation of Israel’s assault on the
Palestinian people and an attempt to silence reporting about reality.
The publication urged local and international press freedom defenders to
speak out against the censorship, and called on Facebook to restore
Earlier this month, journalists in Gaza held a demonstration to protest
A request for comment has been sent to Facebook.
Bowing to government pressure
In 2016, Israel made an agreement
with Facebook to collaborate in monitoring what Israel claims to be
“incitement” by Palestinians.
That year, Facebook apologized for disabling the accounts of several
Palestinian journalists, claiming
it had been a mistake.
But with the shuttering of Safa’s accounts, it appears that the
targeting of Palestinian journalists continues.
The European Union also appears to be supporting Israel’s social media
censorship as part of the 28-member bloc’s deepening commitment
to silencing support for Palestinian rights.
Last week, three EU justice ministers signed a joint declaration
with their Israeli counterpart Ayelet Shaked on “combating online
incitement” and anti-Semitism.
In recent years, Israel has been pushing
to broaden the definition of anti-Semitism – which simply means bigotry
against Jews as Jews – to include criticism of Israel and its state
Joint Statement on Countering Online #HateSpeech
and Incitement to Violence and Terrorism signed by Justice Ministers
and presented at the 6th Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism.
— Israel Foreign Min. (@IsraelMFA) March 20, 2018
The event was attended by Delphine Reyer, Facebook’s policy director for
Africa and the Middle East.
While Facebook colludes with governments to crack down on Palestinians,
violent and racist incitement
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/israelis-facebook> by Israelis
More than 10 percent of Facebook posts written about Palestinians
include denigrating language or calls for violence, according to a
by 7amleh <https://electronicintifada.net/tags/7amleh>, an advocacy
group for Palestinian citizens of Israel.
One of the most notorious examples of online incitement against
Palestinians was posted by none other than justice minister Ayelet Shaked.
On the eve of the 2014 Israeli assault on Gaza that left more than 550
Palestinian children dead, Shaked promoted a call for genocidal
violence, including the slaughter of Palestinian mothers who give birth
to “little snakes.”
Shaked’s call received thousands of “likes” before she removed it,
embarrassed by the global exposure it gained after The Electronic
it into English.
Last week, Shaked claimed
that “terror groups” – the Israeli government’s catch-all term for
Palestinian political parties and resistance organizations – were
switching to Twitter, because so far that social network has been less
willing to comply with government censorship than Facebook.
This indicates that after Facebook’s capitulation, other social media
networks will be in Israel’s crosshairs.
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