Social networks accused of censoring Palestinian content

long decades The conflict between Israel and Palestine has erupted in recent weeksFollowing the forced eviction of Palestinians living in Jerusalem on land claimed by Israel and Attacks on Muslims near Al-Aqsa Mosque near the end of the holy month of Ramadan. As Palestinians and their supporters have shared images and posts about the violence on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, some have noticed their content suddenly disappearing, or have seen their posts flagged for a breach of the platforms’ terms of use if no such breach occurred. In some cases, their accounts have been suspended; Twitter has restricted the account of Palestinian-American writer Maryam Barghouti, who had been posting photos and videos of the violence in Jerusalem, later re-accounted for Barghouti and apologized for the comment, saying it was done in error.

Some of those who have been covering such issues for years do not believe these kinds of things are wrong; Instead, they believe that social networks deliberately censor Palestinian content. in a A final panel discussion on Al Jazeera The StreamAnd NSThis is not a new problem, and it has only recently worsened, said Arwa Fatafta, of the human rights advocacy group Access Now. “Activists, journalists and social media users have been criticizing this type of censorship for years,” She said. “But I’ve been writing on this subject for a long time, and I’ve never seen anything on this scale. It’s so rude and so cool, it goes beyond censorship – it’s digital suppression. They actively suppress the narrative of Palestinians or those documenting these war crimes.”

Monday, Access Now Made a thread on Twitter about censorship involving Palestinian content on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok. The group said it had received “hundreds of reports that social media platforms are cracking down on Palestinian protest hashtags, blocking live broadcasts, and deleting posts and accounts.” Amir Al-Khattabeh who runs It’s called a magazine for the millennial generation MuslimHe says he has documented 12,000 censorships on Instagram alone in the past several weeks.

A group called the Arab Center for the Advancement of Social Media Campaign, A report entitled Hashtag Palestine has just been released, given the removals and bans of accounts related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in 2020. “This is not the first time that Palestinian voices have been silenced, and it is clearly not the last,” Mona Shtayyeh, campaign advisor, told Al Jazeera About account suspensions and recent content removals. In 2020, a campaign organization found that Facebook complied with 81 percent of Israel’s requests to remove content, many of which were related to Palestine, the group says. In addition to the removals, Fatfta said Access Now Heard many reports from groups and individuals who were unable to use certain features, including ‘likes’ and comments, or the live stream was blocked or stopped mid-stream.

The social media companies have acknowledged some removals and account bans. Instagram I apologize for the fact that not many accounts were able to post content related to Palestine For a number of hours on May 6, in some cases their accounts were flagged or banned. The company said this was Part of a broader technical problem She influenced posts from a number of countries on a wide range of topics. “A lot of people thought we were removing their content because of what they posted or the hashtag they used, but that bug was not related to the content itself,” said Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, chirp.

However, some affected said they did not buy into the interpretation; Shtayyeh described it as “neither logical nor convincing.” Instagram has also blocked posts related to Al-Aqsa Mosque, and He later apologized, saying the mosque’s name was misreported Through moderation algorithms as terrorist content.

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Facebook has also apologized for some of its removals in the past. In 2016, four editors at Shehab News Agency and three executives from Quds News Network, both of which are two news organizations covering events in Palestine, Suddenly their personal accounts have been disabledWhat Facebook said at the time was accidental. According to Campaign and other groups, the Israeli government has an online unit that routinely submits takedown requests related to Palestinian content, And in some cases “Coordinates groups of online trolls to report and share content that includes disinformation and hate speech directed at Palestinians.” In an email to CJR on Tuesday, a Facebook spokesperson said: “Our thoughts are with everyone affected by the ongoing horrific violence. We know there have been many issues that have affected people’s ability to participate on our apps. We are very sorry to everyone who felt they couldn’t Draw attention to important events.”

Here’s more on social media and Palestine:

hypothetical: Access Now, Campaign, and a number of other human rights and advocacy groups He recently wrote an open letter to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social networks Saying that their arbitrary and opaque decisions constitute a serious violation of Palestinians’ fundamental rights, including their right to freedom of expression, and their right to freedom of association and assembly online, which Facebook and Twitter have pledged to respect in accordance with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights” The groups demanded more transparency about moderation efforts.

google browserThe Sada Social Center, which monitors social media violations against Palestinian content, said in 2020, that Palestine was not identified as such on Google or Apple maps, but only as the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The group also found that Google I started removing the names of Palestinian cities and roads of its maps while preserving Israeli roads.

anti-Semitism: Some Facebook users have noted that posts on social media criticizing Israel or defending Palestine are often labeled as anti-Semitic. Intercept I recently mentioned what she called “Facebook’s secret internal rules to mitigate use of the term Zionism,” which it says stifle criticism of Israel. The rules appear to have been in place since 2019, which contradicts the company’s claims that no decision has been made about whether to treat “Zionism” as a proxy for the word “Jew” when defining hate speech.

download: The editorial team posted on the video game news site IGN open letter On Monday he complained that the IGN article and a related tweet containing links to charities supporting Palestinian victims of violence had been removed. Both were published on May 15 in response to the Israeli missile strikes on Gaza, but Removed May 16th. IGN released a statement The next day he said that The content was removed because it was “inconsistent with our intent to try to show support to all people affected by the tragic events,” and “left the wrong impression that we are politically aligned with one side.”

Other notable stories:

  • Reporters Without Borders announced, on Tuesday, its launch Press Trust Initiative, a collection of resources designed to promote transparency and trustworthy journalism, funded by Craigslist founder Craig Newmark (who is a member of the CJR Board of Supervisors). Reporters Without Borders says the project will allow media outlets to “diagnose, improve and enhance the accuracy of their journalism, with the goal of building a healthier news ecosystem”. It is based on a list of standards developed in collaboration with 130 media organizations and journalists.
  • newly The New York Times Editorial titled “Stop the Manipulative Machines,” Criticize the use of so-called “dark patterns”—Design tricks that get people to do things online by confusing or manipulating them. For example, he talks about what some call the Amazon Roach Motel sign-up process, which makes canceling an account more difficult than signing up for one. but one zero notes that times She uses this same strategy, asking subscribers to call on the phone to cancel, or sit through an online chat session with someone trying to convince them not to quit.
  • Bill Groeskin, Columbia College of Journalism professor and regular contributor to CJR, He writes about a defamation lawsuit launched by Project VeritasA right-wing group that specializes in ambushing videos – against The New York Times. Grueskin notes that after requesting an interview, he was notified while away from his office on the Columbia campus that the Veritas crew, including founder James O’Keefe, “made their way to the school, without prior notice and despite-related visitor restrictions.” [and] They were walking down the halls and looking for me.”
  • Journalist Keith Klor A description in the Twitter thread of what he called The massive press failed to report on UFOs from some well-established news organizations like 60 minutes. chlorine (and others) notes that such programs often rely on a handful of regular suspects to be interviewed, including Luis Elizondo, described as a “20-year veteran of covert military intelligence operations.” But chlorine – from Books on Elizondo for Intercept—There is no evidence that the man ever served or commanded a military research unit for UFOs, despite his claims to have done both.
  • according to A newly unsealed court document reported by New York magazineThe Justice Department has secured a grand jury request to expose a Twitter account owner who ridiculed Republican Congressman Devin Nunes, the chair of the House Intelligence Committee. The magazine describes Nunes as an “enthusiastic litigant”, who believes that his critics in the media “should be shut down or forced to pay huge sums for insolence, and has offered, or threatened to provide, a series of Lawsuits Against publications including Respected, Fresno Bee, And Twitter. “
  • In a development that will bring joy to text-loving journalists, Spotify said Tuesday Podcasts will start auto-tranging in the coming weeks. The company said it will start introducing the new feature in a number of its exclusive and original offerings as part of the rollout of new accessibility elements for its app. Users can read the text with or without listening to the audio and they can click on any section of the text to go to that point in the audio. Spotify said it plans to enable transcription across all of its audio files.
  • On Tuesday, the staff at Forbes magazine They said they plan to form a guild, which will cover about 105 employees in the editorial department, including reporters, editors, designers, photographers, videographers and social media editors. More than 80 percent of employees in those departments have signed union cards with NewsGuild of New York, which also represents unions. The New York TimesAnd time, and NBC News Digital. CNN reported that the staff of Forbes They seek job security, equal pay, and editorial independence.
  • Journalism students should be more prepared for the reality of online abuse and harassment they may experience when joining the industry, according to a new study described by Official Gazette. Published in the Journal of the Journalistic Education AssociationThe study found that abuse is becoming “more common, more vile and dangerous” in ways that can affect young journalists and their emotional well-being. She says discussing this reality early on is vital in preparing students.

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Matthew Ingram is CJR’s Chief Digital Writer. Previously, he was a prominent writer with luck magazine. He has written about the intersection between media and technology since the early days of the commercial internet. His writings have been published in Washington Post and the financial times As well as Reuters and Bloomberg.

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