Over 90% of pro-Palestinian content deleted since Oct. 7 on social media following Israel's request

Over 90% of pro-Palestinian content deleted since Oct. 7 on social media following Israel's request
Pro-Palestinian censorship on social media has increased tenfold since Israel's war on Gaza began on October 7, with the Israeli government requesting the deletion of thousands of social media posts.
3 min read
22 November, 2023
Meta-owned Facebook, as well as other platforms, have a track record of restricting pro-Palestinian digital content [Getty/file photo]

Social networking sites, mostly Meta-owned, have deleted thousands of pro-Palestinian posts since the outbreak of Israel’s brutal war in Gaza, in response to Tel Aviv’s request to do so.

The Israeli Attorney General’s Office has sent approximately 9,500 requests since October 7 to Meta - which owns Facebook and Instagram - as well as the video-sharing app TikTok, to remove content related to Israel’s brutal war in Gaza, according to a recent report published by Forbes.

As a result, around 94 percent of that content has been deleted, digital researcher Mona Shttayeh said in an interview with Al Jazeera Mubasher, citing the report.

The number of requests to delete such content has increased since the report's publication, she said.

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Shtayyeh said that it is "impossible" to comprehend the magnitude of the large number of Israeli requests to restrict Palestinian content, adding that the number of demands has increased tenfold since Israel’s onslaught on the besieged strip, which has killed over 14,000 Palestinians began.

Last month, Instagram had deleted and later reinstated the Eye on Palestine account, which has been a source of on-the-ground images and videos in Gaza.

Prior to the war, pro-Palestinian content already experienced censorship, restrictions and shadow-banning. In 2021, Facebook was accused by activists for censoring Palestine-related posts on its platform on Israel’s military assault in Gaza and protests against forced expulsions of Sheikh Jarrah families in the same year. The social networking giant was then investigated, and found guilty of violating Palestinian human rights in documenting Israeli atrocities.

Last year, in 2022, prominent Palestinian-American model Bella Hadid said she was shadow-banned when attempting to post Palestinian content relating to the storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque to the Instagram Stories feature.

Shttayeh also stressed that incitement and hate speech against Palestinians on social media also increased as Israel’s military campaign in Gaza began.

Meanwhile, pro-Palestinian censorship online could witness a significant increase following the Knesset's approval of a draft law banning the consumption of terrorist publications earlier this month.

Digital advocacy group 7amleh told The New Arab in a press release that the bill could pave the way for "the preemptive criminalisation" of people who have neither committed nor planned any crime. The draft law could also increase the Israeli authorities' surveillance of Arab Palestinian citizens while infringing on their rights to privacy, freedom of expression and the right to access information.

There have been several cases of Palestinian citizens of Israel being arrested for sharing pro-Palestinian content on social media, including singer Dalal Abu Amneh who wrote "there is no victor but God", in support of Gaza.