(Photo: Mondoweiss, CARLOS LATUFF JANUARY 12, 2016)
Palestinian journalists and activists have launched a campaign titled "Facebook Blocks Jerusalem" to raise their voices and express their rejection of Meta's recent resumption of its years-long censorship of pro-Palestinian content on its Facebook platform, said Sada Social Center on Tuesday.
In a press release, Sada said this campaign comes in the aftermath of a massive wave by Meta that saw the blocking and/or restriction of many pages belonging to Palestinian media outlets and thousands of personal accounts for Palestinian citizens and journalists on Facebook.
The wave has mainly targeted the pages of Palestinian media outlets and journalists in particular due to their tireless coverage of the ongoing Israeli human rights violations across occupied Palestine, including Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
As part of the campaign, activists denounced "the double standards policy" followed by Meta. "While [Meta] is escalating its crackdown on the Palestinian narrative under flimsy pretexts, it does not lift a finger about the Israeli incitement, which calls for the killing and apprehension of Palestinians, especially after the recent incident at the Chain Gate in occupied Jerusalem," read the campaign's statement.
The campaign accused Meta of ignoring the Palestinian narrative that has shed light on the crimes of the Israeli occupation in occupied Jerusalem, saying that the "Facebook algorithms strictly censor any pro-Palestinian content, and do not take into account what's happening on the ground in Palestine."
"These algorithms have forced many people, political parties, party leaders and others who are highly censored by Facebook to change their names to circumvent the double standards," read the statement of the campaign. "In the meantime, many Israeli pages are freely and directly calling for the killing of Palestinians and inciting violence against them."
The campaign stressed that Meta fully adopts the Israeli narrative by giving a free hand to Israeli content while imposing more restrictions on the Palestinian narrative. It added that the Meta administration is gradually becoming an inherent part of the Israeli colonial regime, guided to repress the Palestinian people and eliminate their narrative, noting that hiding the violations against the Palestinian people is participation and collusion in the crimes.
"The occupation thinks that it can use its relations with Meta to eliminate the Palestinian narrative, which has been formed through the blood and agony of the Palestinian people,” the campaign said. "Our narrative is greater than a bogus virtual world, which will never prevent its spread to the world."
The campaign called on activists in Palestine and around the world to use the hashtag "FBCensorsJerusalem" to support the Palestinian narrative and the right of Palestinian journalism in publishing the truth without any restrictions.
According to Sada Social center, which is a nonprofit youth initiative concerned with digital rights and protecting the Palestinian narrative, since the beginning of 2021 it has documented more than 600 violations against the Palestinian content carried out by Facebook and Instagram only, where more than 200 violations targeted journalists’ accounts and media agencies platforms.
While Facebook has officially acknowledged that it accepts 90% of requests by the Israeli government to remove Palestinian accounts and pages, the Israeli minister, who is responsible for communication with Meta, has been known for racist anti-Palestinian comments, calling for the elimination of Palestinian mothers and children.
The campaign said it will continue to post using the hashtag in addition to a series of local and international activities, which will be announced later.
"Facebook Censors Jerusalem" is a solidarity campaign launched by Palestinian activists, aiming at changing the policies of the Facebook platform, which do not consider the sensitivity of the Palestinian cause and impose restrictions on free journalism. It also came in rejection of punitive measures imposed by the platform on Palestinian journalists and activists.