Facebook has apologised after shutting down a number of pages related to two Palestinian news sites. However, this has not dispelled the concerns of Palestinian activists and journalists that their work will be blocked once again at Israel’s insistence.
The social media heavyweight admitted to its “mistake” after blocking pages from Alquds News Network (5.2 million followers) and Shehab News Agency (6.35 million followers), reported Agence France-Presse. Articles published by The Electronic Intifada have also been blocked with no explanation offered by Facebook.
Facebook said that pages were suspended by mistake and that they have been reinstated. “Our team processes millions of reports each week, and we sometimes get things wrong.”
However, Palestinians and their supporters believe that the suspension of these pages is a direct result of a recent meeting between Facebook and Israeli officials, who accuse Palestinians repeatedly of inciting hate and violence via social media.
“We fear that Facebook will assist the occupation and close the only space for free expression for the Palestinians,” commented Iyad Al-Rifai, the spokesman for a campaign against such closures.