Palestinian journalists have raised the alarm over what they describe as unjust suppression of their content on Facebook, a claim backed by rights groups but rejected by the social media giant.
On December 4, Palestine TV correspondent Christine Rinawi posted a video on her Facebook account in which Israeli security forces were seen shooting a Palestinian who was on the ground, killing him. He had just carried out a knife attack on an Israeli civilian.
The Palestinian Coalition for Digital Rights warned that the proposed Israeli "Facebook law" bill poses a major threat to free speech for Palestinians. This will effectively give Israeli authorities the power to remove any news and posts by Palestinians it wishes. pic.twitter.com/nVEiNuvDTo
— PALESTINE SUNBIRD 🇵🇸 (@SBPal_Eng) December 30, 2021
Shortly after she posted her video, Rinawi, who has nearly 400,000 followers, noticed it had been removed from her account.
This was not her first experience with Facebook’s enforcement, and Rinawi said her account had already been restricted after she shared footage of a November attack in Jerusalem.
In both cases, Facebook said it intervened because the posts violated the platform’s standards.
The Meta spokesperson says it has “a dedicated team, which includes Arabic and Hebrew speakers, who are focused on keeping our community safe by making sure we're removing harmful content”https://t.co/uuG6XxXOX8
— Dawn.com (@dawn_com) December 31, 2021
A spokesperson for Facebook’s parent company Meta said its policies “were designed to give everyone a voice while keeping them safe on our apps”, adding: “We apply these policies to everyone equally, regardless of who is posting.”
Allegations of pro-Israeli bias at Facebook have simmered for years and were renewed in October when Human Rights Watch, a respected rights NGO often critical of Israel, said the platform had “suppressed content posted by Palestinians and their supporters speaking out about human rights issues in Israel and Palestine”.
Palestinian reporters have cited multiple incidents they describe as censorship.
(The New Arab, PC, Social Media)