Is Facebook’s Deleting Anti-Israeli Accounts, Posts kind of Apartheid?

Written by  Published by:Shiite News
Published in Palestine
Monday, 19 September 2016

Following intensive efforts of the Israeli propaganda media and security officials to get the social networks to eliminate the anti-Israeli posts, Facebook officials finally announced that the social networking platform from now on will delete anti-Tel Aviv material.

The London-based Rai al-Yaoum daily reported that Tel Aviv has forced Facebook heads to send a delegation to the occupied Palestinian territories to sign a bilateral deal with the Israeli authorities. It appears that the move by the Israeli regime comes as part of attempts to forcefully get an agreement of the social platform to allow a full supervision by Israeli officials on activities of Facebook users.

Following arrival of representatives delegation of Facebook, a leading social networking website, the Israeli Minister of Internal Security Gilad Arden and the Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked have met with the top Facebook managers. The meeting ended in signing an official deal for cooperation between the Israelis and Facebook chiefs to help eliminate anti-Israeli posts on the social network.

Additionally, the office of the minister of internal security in an official statement announced that Tel Aviv and Facebook agreed to work to form expert teams to discover efficient ways for confronting and removing anti-Israeli material on the social network.

Earlier, the Israeli regime formed a committee to study drafting "Facebook Bill" that aims at obliging the social networking site to delete provocative and anti-Israeli material and terms. According to the Israeli daily of Jerusalem Post, once the deal is approved in the Israeli Knesset, the Israeli courts can rule on deleting personal posts on Facebook.

The Israeli agreement with Facebook is expected to be a prelude to make social networks give in to the Israeli demands and so pave the way for blocking hundreds of thousands of personal pages of the Palestinian organizations and politicians or pages of pro-Palestinian activists in general. Furthermore, odds are that if Facebook responds well to the Israeli demands, Tel Aviv will force other social web platforms to take the same measures.

Despite the fact that some of social media activists have called the Facebook measures a blatant violation of freedom of speech, the visit of Facebook managers to Tel Aviv to discuss cooperation with the Israeli regime to confront provocations on social networks shows Facebook's determination to silence the web activity of pro-Palestinian groups and figures.

At the same time, Facebook move against personal pages of pro-Palestinian figures not only targeted the Palestinian activists but also it went beyond to include the personal accounts of anti-Israeli and pro-Resistance figures. Even days before news of Facebook managers' visit to Tel Aviv some Facebook pages of Alwaght fans who are active in covering and sharing the news about the Palestinian developments and Lebanon’s Hezbollah were blocked by the social platform.

Furthermore, a user from Lebanon has reported his page blocking. Hussein said that after uploading an image of the Secretary General of Hezbollah Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on his account was blocked and Facebook block message read that the post of the page violated the terms and policies of the social site. Also, another Alwaght follower a couple of days after block report of the Lebanese user was surprised to face same message by Facebook. The social network blocked his page, too.

The limits on the activists that cover and redistribute Palestinian developments and the allied campaigns comes while less than 6 months ago Facebook officially apologized for removing a pro-Israeli post. The poster that was created by the right-wing Israeli extremists read "it's called Israel, not Palestine", but Facebook changed it to “it’s called Palestine, not Israel." The social network very soon offered apologies to the poster makers. The issue changed into media controversy in the US. Washington Post confirmed that Facebook apologized to the Israeli user for reversing racist post, and so the poster was posted again on Facebook.

On the other side, Facebook double standards in deleting and giving freedom of action to the right-wing Israeli extremists for publishing anti-Palestinian posts on its platform comes while a statistical look at the Palestinian and Israeli pages shows a meaningful difference in terms of number and type of their standings.

One of the credible sources for statistics on web activists and social networks pages is in which statistics of web users' activities and their tendencies are provided by separation of countries and regions. According to the figures by Socialbakers website, a total number of users of 10 most popular Israeli pages reached 32,795,000. This comes while these figures show a meaningful difference with online Palestinian users. The total number of users of 10 most popular Palestinian pages has touched 53,882,000.

On the other hand, while the most popular Israeli page belongs to the Israeli actress Gal Gadot with 7,823,000 fans, on the opposite side is the page of the Palestinian singer Mohammad Assaf with 9,169,000 fans. Additionally, while among the 10 most viewed Palestinian Facebook pages 7 are news pages with a total 32,900,000 fans who follow daily Palestinian news, from the 10 most viewed Israeli Facebook pages only 3 are news pages with 12,300,000 followers.

Despite this meaningful difference in terms of the tendency and number of the Palestinian users and comparison to the Israelis it seems that managers of Facebook, a social network with over 1 billion users, aim to limit activities of pro-Palestinian users and give freedom to Israeli right-wing users in a bid to impose a kind of apartheid policy on the Palestinian users or in general pro-Palestinian activists. An apartheid that although is being adopted quietly by Facebook, it has been in place in real world since years ago in the occupied Palestinian territories. The best example is Gaza blockade by Tel Aviv.

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