Facebook censored Palestinian content showing Israeli crimes: US rights group
US social media company Facebook has wrongfully removed and suppressed content by Palestinians and their supporters, including about Israel’s human rights abuses against Palestinians, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report on Friday.
The US-based rights group said it documented that Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, removed posts that displayed Israel’s war crimes during the last Israeli-Palestinian conflict in May.
“Facebook has suppressed content posted by Palestinians and their supporters speaking out about human rights issues,” said Deborah Brown, senior digital rights researcher and advocate at HRW.
HRW said that during the May conflict, Israel committed numerous "crimes agaisnt humanity", including forcing Palestinians out of their homes, brutal suppression of demonstrators, assaults on places of worship, communal violence, and airstrikes that killed civilians.
“Facebook provides a particularly critical platform in the Israeli and Palestinian context, where Israeli authorities are committing crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution against millions, Brown said.
In one instance, Instagram removed a screenshot of headlines and photos from three New York Times opinion articles for which the Instagram user added commentary that urged Palestinians to “never concede” their rights.
In another instance, Instagram removed a photograph of a building with a caption that read, “This is a photo of my family’s building before it was struck by Israeli missiles on Saturday May 15, 2021. We have three apartments in this building.” The company also removed the reposting of a political cartoon whose message was that Palestinians are oppressed.
In April, HRW accused Israel of crimes against humanity by pursing policies of "apartheid" and persecution against Palestinians.
The word apartheid is often associated with South Africa. It was a system of institutionalized racial segregation that existed in South Africa from 1948 until the early 1990s.
The system was characterized by
an authoritarian political culture based on white supremacy, which ensured that
South Africa was dominated politically, socially, and economically by the
nation's minority white population.