Facebook's rating falls as users slam 'suppression, censorship' of Palestine-related content

Facebook's rating falls as users slam 'suppression, censorship' of Palestine-related content
Users are utilising app store rating systems to criticise the US social media giant's practises related to Palestinian content.
3 min read
20 May, 2021
Facebook has been accused of collaborating with Israel [Getty]

Facebook is facing a flurry of negative comments and ratings in response to its alleged suppression and censorship of supportive messages for the Palestinian people. 

The social networking giant has been accused by Palestine activists of blocking content that is supportive of Palestinian rights, as well as content that is critical of the Israeli occupation. Some have even gone as far as accusing the US company of colluding with Israel.

At the time of writing, Facebook’s rating on the Apple App Store is 2.1, while it fairs only slightly better on Google’s Play Store with 2.4, both out of a possible five. 

“I would like to complain about the way a platform like yourselves [sic] have conducted yourselves [sic] against the victims of human rights, showing total bias towards Israel,” wrote one reviewer on Tuesday. 

“Us as users have felt immense pain for the people and children of Palestine. If the founders are not in the same mindframe [sic], that is on their conscience but we as users did not expect this to prevent freedom of speech and the freedom to share information,” wrote another. 

“Deleting and controlling content shared to raise awareness on what is going on in Palestine. Shame on you!” commented another.

“What community standard are you talking about? Not one community at the moment. The whole world stands with the oppressed Palestinians and only you stand alone in support of Israel,” one reviewer commented on the Google Play Store.

Supporters of Palestine and the Palestinian people have been using social media to highlight Israel’s brutal bombardment of the Gaza Strip, which has so far claimed the lives of 230 people, including over 65 children, as well as the forced expulsions of Palestinians from East Jerusalem. 

Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, previously came under fire for similar practises related to efforts to raise awareness for the families facing forced displacement from Jerusalem's Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood. 

Posts using hashtags designed to raise awareness of Israel's policies in East Jerusalem were deleted from the social media platform without warning, to the outrage of users. 

Responding to claims that posts were purposefully being deleted, Instagram blamed a technical problem. 

“I want to confirm that content related to Sheikh Jarrah was removed as a result of a widespread global technical issue affecting Instagram,” Instagram spokesperson Sophie Vogel told The New Arab.

7amleh, a group that advocates for the digital rights of Palestinians, told The New Arab Voice that Israeli groups, supported by the government, were abusing the report function on mass, to censor Palestinian voices and supporters of Palestine. 

“You got the groups who are organising people to report posts on mass and abusing the reporting system,"Nadim Nashif, the General Director of 7amleh, told to The New Arab Voice podcast. "Most of them are heavily funded by the minister of strategic affairs,” he added.