Human Rights Watch accuses Facebook of suppressing pro-Palestinian posts

Human Rigths Watch accuses Facebook of suppressing pro-Palestinian posts during the war between Hamas and Israel in May, killing 260 on the Palestinian side and 13 in Israel. The NGO calls for an independent investigation.

The Facebook platform “unfairly” suppressed pro-Palestinian publications during the May violence in Israel and the Palestinian Territories, the Human Rights Watch organization (NGO) denounced on October 8, calling for an independent investigation into the matter.

According to the human rights organization, numerous publications posted by Palestinians or their supporters and considered to disseminate “speech or symbols of hatred” have been removed from Instagram, a social network owned by Facebook.

In some cases, even when internet users shared media content, their posts were taken down. “Facebook has unfairly removed or deleted content […] including some about human rights abuses perpetrated in Israel and Palestine during the hostilities in May, ”the organization said in a statement.

“These withdrawals suggest that Instagram is restricting freedom of expression on subjects of public interest,” criticized HRW, denouncing “censorship” on the part of the American giant of social networks.

11 days of war in early May between Hamas and Israel

“The fact that the company recognizes errors, and tries to correct some of them is insufficient, and does not address the extent of the content restrictions that have been reported and does not sufficiently explain why these restrictions were put in place. initially, ”the organization continued, saying“ the extent and volume of the reported restrictions warrant an independent investigation ”. Violence erupted in early May in East Jerusalem, a Palestinian sector of the city occupied and annexed by Israel since 1967, against a backdrop of tensions caused by threats of eviction of Palestinian families for the benefit of Israeli settlers.

In the process, the Islamist movement Hamas, in power in the Gaza Strip, launched bursts of rockets towards Israel, which responded, giving rise to 11 days of war between the two camps. Clashes have also taken place in the occupied West Bank and in “mixed” towns in Israel where Jews and Arabs live. Clashes between Israel and armed groups in Gaza have left 260 dead on the Palestinian side, including many children, and 13 dead in Israel, including a soldier, according to local authorities.

The WhatsApp accounts, an encrypted messaging that Facebook owns, many Palestinian journalists were blocked during this blitz, including those of AFP reporters in the Gaza Strip.

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