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Palestinian journalists protest Facebook censorship

Palestinian journalists hold banners during a protest against Israeli violence towards journalists on World Press Freedom day in Gaza on 3 May 2017 [Ashraf Amra/Apaimages]
Palestinian journalists hold banners during a protest against Israeli violence towards journalists on World Press Freedom day in Gaza on 3 May 2017 [Ashraf Amra/Apaimages]

Palestinian journalists staged a demonstration outside the UN office in Gaza City on Monday, “to protest Facebook’s practice of blocking Palestinian Facebook accounts”, reported Al Jazeera.

Participants held banners saying “Facebook is complicit in [Israel’s] crimes” and “Facebook favours the [Israeli] occupation”.

Monday’s protest was organized by the Journalists Support Committee, a Palestinian NGO.

Speaking at the demonstration, Salama Maarouf, a spokesperson for Hamas, said Facebook was “a major violator of freedom of opinion and expression”.

Read: Campaign targets Facebook over attacks on Palestinian content

“Facebook blocked roughly 200 Palestinian accounts last year – and 100 more since the start of 2018 – on phony pretexts”, he added.

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

#FBFightsPalestine - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

#FBFightsPalestine – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

The site also reported how “Palestinians journalists and activists have created their own social media watch group, called Sada Social”, launched in September 2017 “with the aim of documenting “violations against Palestinian content” on social networks such as Facebook and YouTube, and to liaise with their executives to restore some of the pages and accounts that have been shut down”.

#FBFightsPalestine

Iyad Alrefaie, co-founder of Sada Social, earlier this year told Al Jazeera “there is a very big gap between Palestinians and Israelis.

“[Nothing happens] to Israelis who publish a status calling for killing Palestinians,” he said. “But if Palestinians post any news about something happening on the ground or done by an Israeli soldier, Facebook [may] close the account or the page, or delete the post.”

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