At Ramallah Event, Facebook Official Denies Agreement with Israel

A poster in Arabic calling for boycotting Facebook over censorship campaign. (Photo: via EI)

A senior official at Facebook has denied any agreements between the company and the Israeli government, speaking at a conference in Ramallah on Saturday.

The Palestine Digital Activism Forum, launched by 7amleh – Arab Center for Social Media Advancement, saw 21 national and international speakers address more than 200 participants.

Simon Milner, Facebook policy director for the MENA, UK and Ireland, denied, reportedly for the first time, “any agreements between Facebook and Israel.”

According to organizers, Milner “added that all Facebook users, bar none, are subject to the very same policies”, and “stated that Facebook is not biased against either party. The removal of pages or accounts solely depends upon the reports received by the Facebook from the affected users.”

Sahar Francis, Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association Director, told the conference that some 200 cases have been filed to the Israeli courts “on the grounds that some posts on social media are found to contain ‘incitement’.”

The Forum included panels and workshops on digital security and rights, and “how the various digital instruments may be utilized creatively to bring a positive tide of change.”

Thawab Shibley, Research and Engagement Specialist YouTube at Google, was also present.

In his opening remarks, Manar Makhoul, 7amleh Board member, said: “In this era, the digital rights, including the right to privacy, the right to personal info protection, and the right to safe Internet surfing, have become a substantial human right issue.”

Nadim Nashif, Director of 7amleh, also presented the results of 7amleh’s opinion poll on the Digital security by the Palestinian youth, which showed that 19 percent of the Palestinian social media users were intercepted by the authorities on the basis of their posts.

Various initiatives were also presented, such as AIDA’s ‘Open Gaza’ campaign, Al-Siwar’s ‘Against Sexual Harassment’ campaign; ‘You Know App: Building Bridges between Decision Makers and Citizens’ by Taghyeer for Social Media, Ziqaq App (information about the Old City of Jerusalem in Arabic and English) by ‎Palestinian Vision Organization, and Azmeh (Checkpoint) App by Basil Sader.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

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