Oct. 30, 2019
On the one hand, leaders of the Palestinian Authority (PA) condemn Facebook for “surrendering to Israeli pressure” and taking action against those who incite terrorism and hate speech. On the other hand, the same PA leaders keep pressuring Facebook to silence Palestinians who demand an end to financial and administrative corruption in the PA.
“[E]very time Fatah posts a new terror message on Facebook encouraging violence or presenting murderers as role models, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians are given more motivation to kill Israelis. Facebook still chooses to do nothing to stop it.” — Itamar Marcus, Jerusalem Post, September 11, 2019.
What Abbas and his senior officials apparently fear is that the current wave of anti-corruption protests sweeping Lebanon and other Arab countries may reach the West Bank. They appear nervous that their critics and political rivals will use social media to encourage Palestinians to revolt against corruption and tyranny.
For these leaders, when they turn to Facebook to clamp down on criticism and voices calling for reform and democracy, that is good government. However, when Israel tries to silence those who seek to spill more Jewish blood — well, that is criminal.
For the past few months, Palestinians have been accusing Facebook of “waging war on Palestinian content” by suspending dozens of accounts belonging to Palestinian activists and groups suspected of anti-Israel incitement and promotion of terrorism. The Palestinians even went as far as accusing the social media giant of being in collusion with Israel to “suppress the Palestinian narrative and conceal the reality of Israeli crimes.”
In the context of the campaign, the Palestinians used the hashtag #FBblocksPalestine to “reveal the double-standard policy of Facebook management in dealing with Israeli and Palestinian incitement on its site,” according to the Palestinian NGO Sada Social Center.