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Mar 05, 2018
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Gaza Protest against Facebook's Removal of Palestinian Accounts: Facebook an Accomplice in Crimes against the Palestinians

#6463 | 05:19
Source: Al-Aqsa TV (Hamas/Gaza)

During a protest in Gaza against Facebook's removal of Palestinian accounts and pages, organized by the Journalist Support Committee, Tawfiq Al-Sayyid Salim, Head of the Palestinian Media Assembly, said that the "targeting of Palestinian content by Facebook" was "no less dangerous than the physical targeting of Palestinian journalists and media by the occupation forces." Accusing Facebook of violating freedom of speech, he said that "Facebook has lost its standing as a social media website" and has become "an accomplice in the crimes committed against the Palestinians." Palestinian new media expert Khaled Safi said that Palestinian content was being monitored by Israelis, complaining that the Facebook page of the Hamas TV channel Al-Aqsa was taken down multiple times over a "completely normal post" – "just a word, a knife, or even car tires." Footage from the protest aired on Hona Al-Quds TV and Al-Aqsa TV.

Narrator: "The Journalist Support Committee in the Gaza Strip called on people to actively participate in the protest against the policy of shutting down Palestinian pages on Facebook, opposite the UNSCO headquarters in the Gaza Strip."

Saleh Al-Masri: "The Journalist Support Committee is saddened by what Facebook management is doing to Palestinian content. So we organized this protest to express our anger and our condemnation of the Facebook policy with regards to Palestinian pages – whether personal pages or pages of Palestinian media organizations."

[...]

Salama Maarouf: "In light of what the Facebook management is doing, and due to the clearly increased targeting of active Palestinian accounts, all the Palestinians need to unite their efforts, in the framework of a national campaign, which will employ all means of pressure, and the appropriate recruitment measures, and exert pressure on the Facebook management to stop this attack."

[...]

Tawfiq Al-Sayyid Salim: "Dear brothers, we meet today in order to reaffirm our right to spread the message of our people, who yearn for freedom and reject aggression, through all media platforms, and first and foremost through social media. We categorically reject the double standards employed by Facebook, with regard to our open struggle with this plundering [Israeli] entity.

[...]

"We, the Palestinian Media Assembly, condemn all the measures taken by the Facebook management against Palestinian content, stressing the following: First, the targeting of Palestinian content by Facebook, which is escalating, is no less dangerous than the physical targeting of Palestinian journalists and media by the occupation forces. Both are intended to erase the Palestinian narrative, for the sake of the narrative of the occupation. We would also like to stress the Facebook's continuous targeting of Palestinian pages and content constitutes a clear bias toward the Israeli occupation, a blatant violation of freedom of speech, and a transgression against all the international treaties and resolutions that guarantee the right of all people to express their opinions freely.

"In addition, we would like to stress that Facebook, with its latest measure against Palestinian content, has lost its standing as a social media website that respects, according to its claim, journalistic and personal freedoms. Instead, it has turned into a tool of censorship, and an accomplice in the crimes committed against the Palestinians. We demand that the Facebook management withdraw immediately from the agreement it made with government of the Israeli occupation with regard to monitoring Palestinian content and terminating Palestinian accounts. [Our demand is] in keeping with international agreements, treaties, and criteria pertaining to freedom of thought and of expression."

[...]

Khaled Safi: "First of all, Facebook does not listen to us, and does not care what happens to the Palestinians. It would have no problem if all the Palestinian content were removed from its platform. Facebook is interested in three basic things: money, money, and money – money that comes directly, money that comes from contacts, and money that comes from work. Facebook considers Israel to be an important hub, because it represents a language. Removing Israel [from Facebook] would be a problem, because the Hebrew language would be removed from this platform. If Palestine, on the other hand, were removed, it would still have 22 Arab countries speaking the [Arabic] language.

"Facebook sees that Israel finances it through paid advertisements, much more than any Arab country. Therefore, [Israel] is in a better strategic position. Facebook considers its long-term strategic ties with Israel to be better [than with the Palestinians]. Therefore, Palestinian and Arab leaders and officials should use the power of their money, which they can either give or withhold from Facebook. If the Arabs could make threats with regard to Arab or Palestinian content, this may have an effect on Facebook.

"The last point I'd like to make is that eminent Palestinians and Arabs should meet with the mangers of Facebook. The people [in Facebook] who deal with the geographical area of Palestine are from this region. Accounts might be terminated on the basis of what some Israeli says. Otherwise, how is that Palestinian accounts are taken down within 24 hours from the instance of incitement? A platform like [the Facebook page] of Al-Aqsa TV is taken down nine times in a row over a completely normal post. It might be just a word, a knife, or even car tires. These posts are taken down by the direct order of an Israeli, who monitors Palestinians accounts on Facebook."                          

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