Facebook has reportedly apologized for disabling the accounts of some Palestinian journalists. The company says that people reported the accounts for violating the Facebook community standards. Some people think that the incident has to do with Israel’s campaign against online violence.
Four editors and three executives had their accounts suspended on Friday. The journalists did not receive any information regarding the suspensions of their accounts. They also believe that it was all Facebook and Israel ‘s doing to cancel any content inciting to violence.
The government from Israel says that over the past year, many Palestinian street attacks happened because of online incitement to violence. They have reportedly asked for the social platform’s help in order to stop these violent attacks. In July, Israel’s public security minister expressed his feelings towards Facebook and called it “a monster”. The justice ministry is making laws that would impose Facebook, Twitter and all the other social media sites to automatically delete any post that has to do with violence.
But Palestinians think that social media does not fuel violence, but 50 years of military occupation do. On Sunday, the Israeli military said that they got around 145 Palestinians for inciting to violence on social media platforms. Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked has declared that the government worked closely with Facebook to remove around 158 articles which were supposedly inciting to violence. The company has reportedly managed to solve 95% of the requests to delete the violent content.
Facebook has been dealing with censorship accusations in the past too. It has become an extremely important source of news for everyone around the world. Because of this, everyone has access to it and can read or even act on those violence inciting posts. It has 1.6 billion users. So it is understandable. Twitter and Google also had to deal with lawmakers in Europe and the US. They asked the companies to remove any extremist posts belonging to terrorist organizations. While this might not be exactly fair, it is a normal and fair judgement to stop these kinds of posts. We should stop terrorism by all means, and everyone should work to fulfill this. Online or not, we all must keep these acts under control.
The editors who got their accounts suspended got them back on Saturday. Facebook has reportedly blamed the suspensions on an “unfortunate mistake” from their team and the reporting system. They said that it was all an error and the team put the pages back online as soon as they noticed the problem. Because the Facebook team processes many, many requests like these, it becomes very difficult to get them all right. So mistakes happen. They finally apologized for the inconvenience created.
As to what specific content Facebook considered a violation, it is not yet clear. The team did not offer further details.
On Sunday, many Palestinian journalists made a protest against Facebook’s alliance with the government of Israel. They choose to not post anything on their accounts for two hours. The protest manifested itself under the hashtag #FBCensorsPalestine.
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