The Ramallah-based social media watch group, Sada Social Center, said today that it has documented 132 violations against Palestinian digital content on social media platforms during the month of May.
It said Palestinian accounts received a number of content policy violation reports, which caused restrictions on posting, post reach and bans on posting news related to Palestine.
In a surprise move and a further restriction to reach the Palestinian user, said Sada Social Center in a statement, Meta classified the Palestinian freedom fighter incarcerated in Israel, Zakaria al-Zubaidi, as a dangerous individual on Facebook platform, and issued warnings to those who search for his name on the platform, in addition to classifying a number of Palestinian personalities and groups as “dangerous individuals or organizations.”
On the Facebook platform, Meta deleted the accounts of those accused of carrying out the attack in the Israeli town of Elad, in addition to deleting videos, posts, and facts proving Israel’s killing of Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, and attacking her funeral.
Meta was explicitly consistent with the “Facebook Law” approved by the Israeli Knesset in the first and second readings, which obligates media sites and social networks to delete content claiming to combat “incitement” and “terrorism”, and not to prejudice “state security, public security and individual security”.
This law aims to impose more restrictions on voices supporting the Palestinian cause and rejecting Israel’s occupation via social media platforms, which represents a serious threat to Palestinian digital rights, and works to hide the political content critical of the Israeli occupation authorities through the digital space, in addition to contributing in covering up their crimes and obstructing their accountability, said the Palestinian social media watch group.
Palestinian news pages are still suffering from restrictions, which obstruct their work and spread, especially when many terms and names related to the political situation are used, it added. Most of these terms are classified under the ban algorithm as the center monitored the banning of many news posts due to the use of the name of Yahya al-Sinwar, leader of Hamas movement in Gaza.
“This indicates a lack of consideration for the specificity of the Palestinian cause and considering the mere transmission of the news an incitement to violence, which in turn hinders the dissemination of information and news,” said Sada Social.
The Center monitored violations against more than 64 accounts of journalists, news networks and activists, which represents more than 48% of the total violations of digital content during May.
The violations are distributed as follows: Facebook: 70 violations, Twitter: 5 violations, Instagram: 8 violations, YouTube: 13, WhatsApp: 42 violations belonging to news networks and journalists, Tik Tok: 5, and ClubHouse: 1 violation.
The Center said it will continue efforts to monitor violations against the Palestinian content and work to follow up on them with Facebook administration. It also appealed to civil society institutions to defend Palestinian digital rights that are violated daily and without any right.
It said it is still working to restore many accounts that are subject to harassment and ban, stressing the importance of documenting these violations based on the importance of being on digital platforms and conveying the Palestinian narrative like the rest of those around the world and respect for the freedom of expression and publication as a universal right guaranteed by all international conventions.