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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 5/12/21

Facebook, Instagram and Twitter censor posts on Israeli violence in Jerusalem

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Social-media giants including Facebook and Instagram are censoring posts that highlight Israel's violence and oppression against Palestinians, the Turkish daily Sabah reported Wednesday

Selà uk Bayraktar, the chief technology officer (CTO) of the drone magnate Baykar, in a Twitter message said that his post on Instagram, that allegedly showed extremist Israelis dancing and chanting as they watched a fire burn outside the Al-Aqsa Mosque, was removed by the company after it labeled the post "hate speech." In the post, Bayraktar had described Israel as a "racist, fascist terror state."

Protesting Instagram's action, Bayraktar said in a Twitter message that "Murdering children and civilians, and singing and dancing while watching the temples they set alight, is hate, savagery and massacre."

Bayraktar also stated that Facebook did not allow him to upload the video, accusing both companies of hypocrisy.

With accounts deleted on Twitter and content blocked on Instagram, Palestinian social-media users say they have been censored from showing the reality of the unrest in Jerusalem.

"Instagram and its parent, Facebook, have been censoring posts related to Sheikh Jarrah for at least the past day," independent website Mondoweiss, which is devoted to informing readers about developments in Israel, Palestine and related US foreign policy, said on Twitter.

It also retweeted a post that said Instagram has limited posts with hashtag #Jerusalem in English and Arabic.

Users on Twitter criticized social-media companies for censoring content related to Sheikh Jarrah. "Twitter is fighting the Palestinian content which exposes the crime of displacing Palestinians from Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, in Jerusalem," said NewPress, adding that its English account has been suspended by the "Twitter administration."

Another user, #SaveSheikhJarrah, said on Twitter that Instagram deleted "entire highlight of posts about what's going on in Palestine."

Settler activist and Deputy Mayor of occupied Jerusalem Aryeh King was caught on camera telling Muhammad Abu Hummus, a Palestinian activist from East Jerusalem, that it was a "pity" he did not get a bullet to his head.

Sada Social, a platform designed to protect content shared by Palestinians online, recorded 200 restrictions in the past week on matters related to Sheikh Jarrah and East Jerusalem.

"This includes the closure of accounts on Twitter or Instagram or the blocking of features on Instagram, such as streaming live videos, or restricting access to content related to Sheikh Jarrah, Gaza or Jerusalem," said Sada Social Director Eyad Rifai.

At least 48 Palestinians have been killed and 305 others injured in Israeli attacks across the Gaza Strip amid rising tension throughout the Palestinian territories after Israeli police stormed the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem and assaulted worshippers. Five Israelis have also been killed by rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.

The flare-up comes against the backdrop of last week's Israeli court order for the eviction of Palestinian families in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem.

Instagram sent a clarification on May 11 to Arab News about the removals of accounts and posts related to Sheikh Jarrah.

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Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)
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