Defendants demand that Facebook end ‘obvious’ Palestinian censorship | Censorship News

Rights groups are demanding responses amid widespread reports of Palestinian users and censored content on social media.

Palestinian rights groups and advocates demanded responses from Facebook after several reports said the social media giant censored the Palestinian interior on its platforms, especially during Israel’s past attack on the Gaza Strip and conquered East Jerusalem.

In a writing to Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg on Wednesday, several organizations said they were “outraged and upset by the current censorship of Palestinian users and their supporters on your platforms”.

Earlier this month, Palestinian social media users reported that their posts on Facebook and Instagram-owned by Facebook-were in solidarity with families facing forced evictions from the East Jerusalem neighborhood . Sheikh Jarrah | blocked, hidden or removed.

“Nowadays, social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram have always been tools of Palestinian protesters and residents just to provide information to keep everyone safe from the detention of the Israeli government and police, and of attacks on civilians, “read. the letter.

“The apparent censorship of Palestinian politics puts activists at risk.”

The signatories of the letter-including 7amleh, Adalah Justice Project, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and Jewish Voice for Peace-asked Facebook to explain how it applies the rules, providing data on all removal, and allowed independent researchers to examine the extracts. .

It also asked the company to examine its relationship with the Israeli government.

Facebook did not immediately respond to Al Jazeera’s request for comment on Wednesday.

Palestinian digital rights group 7amleh previously accused social media companies including Facebook, Twitter and TikTok in partnership with the Israeli government to censor posts documenting violations of Israeli rights against Palestinians.

Israeli media outlets reported on May 14 that Israeli Justice Minister Benny Gantz urged Facebook and TikTok executives at a meeting to act against the “disinformation and grievance” of their platform.

Earlier this month, Instagram said a technical bug had affected millions of stories around the world, when asked about problems with the posts. But that explanation is rejected by Palestinian digital rights experts.

‘Significant increase’

In a report last week, 7amleh said it documented more than 500 reports of Palestinian digital rights violations between May 6 and 19, which he described as “a significant rise in censorship of Palestinian political speech and narration online “.

On Tuesday, The Associated Press news agency as well reports that 17 journalists in Gaza say their WhatsApp accounts have been blocked since Friday, when a ceasefire began to end Israel’s 10-day bombing of Palestinian territory and rockets fired by Israel.

As of noon Monday, only four reporters – who work for Al Jazeera – had confirmed that their accounts had been restored, according to the news agency.

The Facebook letter came a day after U.S. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib wrote to executives on Facebook, Twitter and TikTok, asking for more information about removing the posts and what to expect in the decision -making process. in each company.

“With mainstream media reporting that Palestinian voices have always been ignored and silenced, social media has become an important resource for information, photos and videos documenting the injustices faced by Palestinians, “he wrote.

“Palestinians always have nowhere else to move to make their voices heard other than social media.”

Tlaib also questioned what he called “a disturbing double standard” by which Palestinian posts are censored or banned, while “Israeli extremist groups are allowed to coordinate violent attacks on Palestinian rioters ”.

The New York Times reports on May 19 that extremist Israeli Jews formed at least 100 new WhatsApp groups for the clear purpose of committing violence against the Palestinians ”amid past tensions and protests of Israeli violence in East Jerusalem and Gaza.

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