Palestinian media organisations boycott Facebook over censorship

Palestinian media organisations boycott Facebook over censorship
Dozens of Palestinian media organisations have held a temporary boycott of Facebook in protest at the social networking giant's censorship of pro-Palestine material.
2 min read
10 January, 2021
Palestinians stopped publishing content on Facebook in protest at censorship [Twitter]
Palestinian media organisations held a temporary boycott of Facebook on Saturday in protest at the social networking giant’s policies and decisions regarding Palestine-related content.

Palestine TV, which is run by the Palestinian Authority, the Quds News Network, the Shehab News Agency and Palestine Today TV were among dozens of Palestinian news organisations taking part in the two-hour boycott of Facebook, which lasted from 5pm to 7pm Jerusalem time (1500-1700 GMT) on Saturday.

Palestinian groups have complained for years that Facebook has been arbitrarily censoring and removing pro-Palestinian content.

In the space of one day last May, the social networking platform deactivated dozens of accounts belonging to Palestinian activists and journalists, without giving any reason beyond saying that the accounts were "not following community standards".

Last month, the Sada Social project, which monitors social media censorship of Palestinian content, said that Palestinian and Arab Facebook pages, which had criticised Arab states’ normalisation deals with Israel had seen a sharp drop in their ability to reach audiences, and this had been due to intentional action by Facebook.

Facebook has previously cooperated with the Israeli government to censor Palestinian content and last June appointed Emi Palmor, an Israeli censorship expert, to its oversight board.

The Quds News Network reported that a hashtag associated with the temporary boycott, #FBCensorsPalestine, became the most widely used one among Palestinian Twitter users.

Twitter user Al Rawand said: "While allowing Israeli occupation officials to freely incite against Palestinians and Arabs, Facebook bans any attempts by Palestinians to express themselves."

The international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign announced its support and participation in the Palestinian action against Facebook.

A total of six TV stations, ten radio stations, 20 news agencies and networks, and 18 institutions took part in the campaign, according to the Quds News Network.

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