Palestinian activist: “We see it [Facebook policies] as a war on the Palestinian narrative.”
Palestinian activists contended that Facebook and other social media platforms have censored criticism of Israel in response to government pressure and launched a campaign seeking to halt the activity
Palestinians have complained that political posts were removed or demoted especially by Facebook and Instagram, which Facebook owns.
The “7amleh” digital rights organization launched a website called “7or” on Monday to call attention to its position, saying it has documented 746 rights violations in 2021 so far.
“We see it as a war on the Palestinian narrative, as an attempt to silence them speaking about their oppression and suffering,” said 7amleh founder Nadim Nashif.
Facebook responded to a request for comment by referring to the work of its independent Oversight Board. The board called in September for moderation of Arabic and Hebrew content to be reviewed for potential bias. The company said it would implement recommendations from that review.
During a May war between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz urged Facebook executives to be more proactive in removing content from “extremists elements that are seeking to do damage to our country.”
Internal Facebook documents seen by Reuters showed that staff members expressed concern over the demotion of posts by Palestinian activist and writer Mohammed El-Kurd.
El-Kurd said views of his posts on Instagram, where he has 744,000 followers, decreased dramatically during Palestinian protests in May over the ongoing property dispute surrounding the Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah.
“I have suspected this baseless silencing of my account for a long time,” El-Kurd said. “The Israeli government is clearly threatened by Palestinian voices.”
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Social media user Tala Ghannam said her posts have been removed from Facebook and Instagram for violating community guidelines, especially those tagged “#SaveSheikhJarrah.”
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‘as a light unto the nations’