A report by the Sada Social Centre shows that violations against online Palestinian content took place on more than 360 occasions in August. The violations included closures of the social media accounts and pages of journalists and activists.
“These violations increased with the escalation of the extensive Israeli attacks, especially the recent aggression on the Gaza Strip, followed by the Israeli attacks in Nablus on 9 August,” explained the report. “Meta Platforms came at the top of those suppressing Palestinian content, with 232 violations on Facebook and 53 violations on Instagram.”
The Facebook issues varied between deleting posts, restricting access, preventing posting and preventing the use of some features such as live broadcasts and advertising. “Most of the violations on Instagram, meanwhile, were ‘stories’ related to the Israeli attacks in Nablus, and the recent aggression on the Gaza Strip.”
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The centre monitored forty violations on Twitter, which classified many Palestinian news content as “sensitive”; twelve violations on WhatsApp, nine on Tik Tok and four on YouTube. Its report suggested that journalists and media organisations are the most vulnerable to violations, with 260 recorded against their social media accounts. Deleted accounts apparently contained news related to the Israeli attacks and reports about the Palestinian humanitarian crisis. “These cannot be classified as promoting ‘terrorism’ as these platforms claim,” insisted Sada.
Meta justifies the restriction on Palestinian content as either incitement or praising acts of violence, but Sada Social Centre believes that it is simply “preventing the spread of the Palestinian narrative.” It added that it is in contact with social media administrators about the accounts that have been targeted, and has managed to restore some journalists’ accounts on Facebook and Instagram.