A group of Palestinian activists are calling for boycott of Facebook after it recently deleted numerous posts and personal accounts, and suspended the work of a few pages and accounts upon Israeli requests.
Using the hashtag #FBCensorsPalestine, the campaign calls on Facebook users to refrain from posting and communicating on Facebook pages and accounts on Sunday “25-9-2016” from 8 pm until 10 pm (Jerusalem time zone).
Recently, more than ten accounts of admins and editors of the two biggest Palestinian media pages have been deleted without previous notice or warning, including Shehab News Agency and Al-Quds News Network.
According to Ayelet Shaked, the current Israeli Minister of Justice, the Facebook administration has complied to about 95 per cent of the Israeli authorities’ requests.
After several requests, the Facebook administration has been pushed to sign an agreement with the Israeli authorities in September 2016. The agreement aims among many objectives to monitor any Palestinian content posted on Facebook and to delete posts, pages and personal accounts that the Facebook administration finds annoying. This agreement serves the Israeli occupation purposes of controlling Palestinian virtual space.
The group in a statement wrote:
The group demanded the Facebook administration to withdraw from the agreement immediately and to respect international law and standards protecting the right to freedom of opinion and expression; Not render aid or assistance in maintaining an illegal situation created by Israeli occupation policies and practices regarding restricting Palestinians’ virtual space; Publish the agreement and its provisions; Clarify the mechanisms implementing agreements between Facebook administration and States, including this agreement; Announce the conditions allowing Facebook administration to violate personal freedoms of internet users, and to enter into agreements with regimes and authorities to restrict these freedoms.
If this agreement passes and continues to be effective, it will contribute to further persecute Palestinians both on the ground and on the virtual space. This agreement will create a precedent for future agreements with other oppressive regimes and authorities violating people’s rights.