Facebook ‘blocks accounts’ of Palestinian journalists

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Editors from two Palestinian news publications
based in the occupied West Bank say their
Facebook accounts were suspended last week

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and
that no reason was provided, alleging their pages
may have been censored because of a recent
agreement between the US social media giant and
the Israeli government aimed at tackling
“incitement”.
Last week, four editors from the Shehab News
Agency, which has more than 6.3 million likes on
Facebook, and three executives from the Quds
News Network , with about 5.1 million likes,
reported they could not access their personal
accounts.
Both agencies cover daily news in the occupied
Palestinian territories.
Nisreen al-Khatib, a translator and journalist at the
Quds News Network, told Al Jazeera that the
publication believes the account suspensions were
triggered by an agreement between Facebook and
Israel earlier this month, in which they agreed to
jointly combat what Israeli claims is “incitement”
by Palestinians on social media.

Al-Khatib said that even Quds News Network’s
non-political vertical that focuses on
“entertainment” and “international news” had been
suspended, although access was later restored.
“[Sharek-Quds News Agency] does not publish
anything that violates Facebook standards or that
could annoy governments. But still, we are
targeted,” she said.
Al-Khatib said the news agency asked Facebook
for an explanation on why the accounts had been
suspended “for no reason”.
Facebook replied on Saturday with an apology,
saying the suspension had been “accidental”.
The three suspended accounts of Quds News
Newtork journalists were unblocked over the
weekend by the networking site, she said.
Remah Mubarak, manager of Shehab News Agency,
said one of four managers’ accounts that had been
suspended “with no warning” by the California-
based tech company had still not been reactivated
as of late Sunday.

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