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7 Jun 2020

7amleh - the Arab Center for Social Media Development

Palestine: Paper alleges systematic efforts to silence Palestinian content on social media

Beginning in 2015, following the Palestinian popular uprising, large swaths of Palestinian content started to disappear from social networks. These discriminatory takedowns, and the increase in such takedowns that has continued annually since this period, is a result of changes in the policies and practices of Israel and social media companies, primarily Facebook, which is the most popular social media platform amongst Palestinians.

It is well documented that for decades Israel has been working to shrink the space for freedom of expression, in particular for activists, human rights defenders and human rights organizations, who are working to hold Israel accountable for its human rights violations, and campaigning for Palestinian rights. In recent years these efforts have moved online and have included systematic efforts to pressure social media companies, in particular Facebook, to remove Palestinian content. In addition, the definition of hate speech has been expanding...

... For years the exact numbers of takedowns have been unclear. However, recently, as a result of a request for information issued in accordance with Israel’s access to information law, the Israeli government stated that from 2017 - 2018 Israel’s direct requests to social media companies led to the deletion of 27,000 posts from Facebook, Twitter and Google. Adalah - The Legal Center for Arab Minorities Rights in Israel reported that the Israeli Ministry of Justice made tens of thousands of requests to content intermediaries like Facebook and Google to censor the Palestinian narrative...