World, Middle East

Palestinians in Gaza protest Facebook censorship

Popular social-media platform has closed 100 Palestinian accounts this year alone, activists say

Ekip   | 05.03.2018
Palestinians in Gaza protest Facebook censorship

Gazze

By Nour Abu Aisha

GAZA CITY, Palestine

Dozens of Palestinian journalists on Monday staged a demonstration outside the UN’s Gaza City office to protest Facebook’s practice of unilaterally blocking Palestinian Facebook accounts.

Demonstrators held banners aloft, reading, “Facebook is complicit in [Israel’s] crimes” and “Facebook favors the [Israeli] occupation”.

According to Salama Maarouf, a spokesman for Hamas (which remains in de facto control of the Gaza Strip), Facebook blocked roughly 200 Palestinian accounts last year -- and 100 more since the start of 2018 -- “on phony pretexts”.

Speaking at Monday’s demonstration, which was organized by the Journalists Support Committee, a Palestinian NGO, Maarouf described the popular social-media platform as “a major violator of freedom of opinion and expression”.

He went on to assert that some 20 percent of Israeli Facebook accounts “openly incite violence against Palestinians” without facing any threat of closure.

In late 2016, Facebook signed an agreement with Israel’s Justice Ministry in which it promised to “monitor” content on Palestinian accounts.

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