Palestine: Journalists say Facebook complicit in Israeli crimes

A Palestinian protests against Facebook censorship, outside the United Nations office in Gaza City on March 5.

Dozens of Palestinian journalists protested social media giant Facebook on March 5, criticising its routine blocking of accounts from the Middle Eastern country.

The media workers gathered outside the United Nations office in Gaza City with banners that read “Facebook is complicit in [Israel’s] crimes”, and “Facebook favours the [Israeli] occupation”.

The protest was organised by Palestinian NGO Journalists Support Committee.

Hamas spokesperson Salama Maarouf accused Facebook of restricting about 200 accounts from Palestine last year. Maarouf said the social media company carried out the blocks “on phony pretexts”. Maarouf added that that a large portion of Israeli Facebook accounts “openly incite violence against Palestinians”.

“[Nothing happens] to Israelis who publish a status calling for killing Palestinians,” Maarouf said. “But if Palestinians post any news about something happening on the ground or done by an Israeli soldier, Facebook [may] close the account or the page, or delete the post.”

In December, The Intercept reported that Facebook had been working with Israeli government officials to suppress Palestinian voices on social media through censorship, removal or blocking of content deemed critical of Israel. These posts are branded as “incitement”.

Two years ago, Facebook signed an agreement with Israel’s Justice Ministry to “monitor” content on Palestinian accounts, Al Jazeera reported. In response, several Palestinian journalists and activists have created Sada Social to record violations against Palestinian content on social networks.

[Reprinted from TeleSUR English.]

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