Palestinians Take On Facebook For Bowing Down To Israeli Censorship

In recent years, hundreds of Palestinians Facebook pages have been shut down for allegations of terrorism enticement and promotion of violence.

Palestine has started a campaign against Facebook for censoring pro-Palestine content thereby curbing free speech.

Palestinians are using the hashtag “#FBFightsPalestine,” calling the social media giant is biased as it removed hundreds of pro-Palestinian posts and pages claiming they “incited terrorism.”

The situation intensified after Israeli forces killed Ahmed Jarrar, a Palestinian activist, who allegedly killed an Israeli rabbi.

As Palestinians posted about Jarrar on Facebook, the social network responded by taking down hundreds of posts commemorating his life.

Muath Mashaal, one of the administrators of a page called “Palestine 27,” which was recently removed by Facebook, said the move came after he shared a photo of Jarrar, reported The Times of Israel.

Mashaal pointed out “Palestine 27” specialized in “documenting the history of the Palestinian struggle against occupation.” He claimed Israel had “incited” Facebook against the page. The allegations aren't unfounded since there are reports about Facebook, and also Twitter, regulating content at the behest of Israel and the U.S. In fact, during 2017, reportedly more than 200 Palestinians accounts were shut down or flagged as “inflammatory and supportive of terrorism.”

Palestinians believe, with a war going on for decades, they finally have a platform in the form of social media, to make their voices heard and create awareness about their side of the story. However, Facebook is not allowing them to do that.

While the Palestinians take a stand against what they believe is “flagrant assault on freedom of speech,” the Israelis aren’t too happy with the social network either. According to them, Facebook’s vague guidelines and failure to deter anti-Israel endorsements on their site result in “aiding alleged Palestinian terrorist group, Hamas.” 

“Facebook has knowingly provided material support and resources to Hamas in the form of Facebook’s online social media network platform and communication services. Hamas has used and relied on Facebook’s online social network platform and communications services as among its most important tools to facilitate and carry out its terrorist activity,” according to The Times of Israel.

Facebook denounced these claims and released a statement reiterating, “There is no room on our platform for content that encourages violence, direct threats, terror or verbal abuse. We have an array of clear-cut community guidelines meant to help people understand what is permitted on Facebook, and we call on people to make use of our reporting tools if they come across content that they believe violates these guidelines, so that we can evaluate each incident and take swift action.”

Facebook is a global social platform and freedom of speech should be provided to everyone. Both sides should be able to express and support the view points and presented with equal opportunities on the international rostrum.

Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Reuters, Mohamad Torokman, Regis Duvignau

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