Facebook shuts down Palestinian news site

(photo: Dado Ruvic / Reuters)

The Israeli Justice Ministry has asked Facebook to disable 12,351 Palestinian accounts.

By Adam Rasgon | The Jerusalem Post | Mar 25, 2018

“While Facebook is taking action against Palestinian content, it is not even paying attention to inciting posts by Israelis.”
— Iyad Rifai, coordinator of Sada Social, an NGO documenting Facebook’s actions against Palestinian accounts

Over the weekend, Facebook disabled the account of Safa, a Gaza-based Palestinian news site; it had almost 1.3 million followers.

Safa is widely seen as sympathetic to Hamas, but an employee at the news site said in a phone call that the media outlet is “independent” and “has no relationship with Hamas.”

Facebook disabled Safa’s account, along with the accounts of 10 Safa editors, just after 5 pm on Saturday, without issuing a warning or providing an explanation, a manager of Safa’s social media team told The Jerusalem Post.

“We were totally surprised,” said the social media manager, who asked not to be named. “We are now working to restore the account because 60% of [the] website’s traffic comes through Facebook.”

A Facebook spokeswoman declined to comment on the disabling of Safa’s account. However, in the past 18 months, Facebook has disabled several Palestinian news sites and leaders’ accounts for allegedly inciting violence against Israelis.

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