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Does Facebook impose curfews on Palestinians in the ‘blue world’?

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16.10.2019

When the Arab youth revolted in 2011 to demand freedom and democracy in their countries, Facebook was the social media platform of choice for crowd mobilisation, a proven experience in other contexts around the world. When Palestinian youth tried to take a chance and speak out against the Israeli occupation to mobilise the masses against it via the same platform, they faced hindrances from Facebook, which is the leading platform in Palestine. During the Arab Spring, this social networking platform banned prominent Palestinian pages, some of which had called for mass civilian rallies against the Israeli occupation, calling it the “third intifada”.

What appeared at the time as sporadic, became a growing occurrence, until Palestinians complained about Facebook management’s continued targeting of their accounts. Every morning, customary messages are sent announcing increasing numbers of well-known Palestinian organisations and figures, as well as ordinary citizens, having been banned from the most widely-used platform. There have been similar complaints from Arabs expressing solidarity with the Palestinian cause.

It is enough to use specific terms for Facebook to ban a post, or completely deactivate an account, and it often does not issue a clear justification to those affected. This makes them prone to making assumptions to explain the loose nature of the ban notice that appears. Many Palestinian accounts have suffered from this bitter experience over the years, as whenever a specific page succeeds in gaining followers, it receives a notice from Facebook deactivating the account and losing the followers it has gained with much effort. It is then forced to start from scratch with alternative accounts, only for this to occur again.

Palestinian content is suffering from an increased crackdown on Facebook, which developed algorithms that harasses this content, for example, by tracking vocabulary, images and videos shared about reality under the occupation. This is used as a pretext to deactivate Palestinian news pages,........

© Middle East Monitor