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Facebook warns it could terminate UN Watch Director's account

The logo of Facebook is displayed on a smartphone screen on 7 September 2021 [Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency]
The logo of Facebook is displayed on a smartphone screen on 7 September 2021 [Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency]

Facebook has threatened to terminate the personal account of the Executive Director of the Switzerland-based NGO, UN Watch, for violating community rules.

According to the Times of Israel, Hillel Neuer, was also warned that his page had already been under sanctions for months to reduce its visibility.

"It turns out that, as I suspected, Facebook has been deliberately and unjustifiably hiding my posts from the public," Neuer said in a statement. "Now they're arbitrarily threatening to delete my account. It's a Kafkaesque situation, and makes absolutely no sense."

"It's possible that this censorship was caused by individuals abusing those standards, acting in bad faith to orchestrate frivolous complaints, but whatever the reason, it needs to stop," added Neuer.

It comes after the Director posted a photo in August of an Afghan Taliban to criticise boycotts against Israel.

READ: Israel advances bill censoring Palestinian content on social media

The post showed the Taliban at the presidential palace with guns in Kabul, along with a caption that read, "Prediction: Ben and Jerry's will never announce a boycott of the Taliban," after the ice-cream firm's decision to stop selling its products in illegal settlements located in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Facebook also revealed that Neuer had been penalised over the post, telling him, "Your page has reduced distribution and other restrictions."

With 49,000 followers, UN Watch claimed Neuer's post had been widely shared on Twitter without incident, but that Facebook had deleted it.

"No explanation was provided, nor did Facebook respond to attempts by Neuer to appeal the ruling," UN Watch said of the warning, adding that it was "troubled by the lack of clarity in Facebook's Community Standards, and the lack of transparency and arbitrariness in the application of those standards."

"We rely on social media to share our vital information about human rights and the United Nations, yet Facebook is stifling our voice and now threatening to shut us down," added the UN Watch.

Geneva-based UN Watch says it is an NGO involved with "monitoring the UN and promoting human rights" and ensuring the fair treatment of United Nations member states. It is also linked to the American Jewish Committee, one of the oldest Jewish lobby groups in the US.

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