As The Palestinians welcomed the year 2022, the Israeli occupation was off for legitimizing its actions against Palestinian content, through the approval of the “Ministerial Committee for Legislation” in the occupation government, on the draft “Facebook Law” that aimed to combat Palestinian digital content, and eradicate any Palestinian solidarity or support with the Palestinian cause.
This new law gives the Israeli Public Prosecution the power to delete content published on social networks and websites and enables Internet service providers to block websites and refer their owners for investigation and prosecution.
This legal action was clearly reflected in the Israeli hounding of Palestinian content on social media platforms, as Sada Social Center monitored more than 425 digital violations against Palestinian content on social media during the first half of 2022, coinciding with Israeli attempts at the official level to legislate the fight against Palestinian content. The Palestinian Voice Digitally and Its Pursuit.
The violations monitored by the center were distributed on various social media platforms, with Facebook at the forefront being the most violating site with 273 violations, WhatsApp with 60 violations, while Instagram recorded 30 violations, Tik Tok recorded 21 violations, YouTube with 14 violations, Twitter 12 violations, and for the first time Once he enters the Club House to the scene of violations, as Sada Social Center received 10 complaints about trying to close the audio rooms of activists, especially while they were covering what is happening in Jerusalem during the month of Ramadan.
A third of the violations (33%) were against journalists and media institutions, with 140 violations recorded by Sada Social Center during the six months.
These violations ranged from completely deleting accounts, or imposing restrictions on publishing posts, especially when using many terms or names associated with the political situation, which most of are classified within the ban algorithm, such as “occupation, Jenin camp, martyr, resistance” and other words, which indicates a lack of consideration for the specificity of the Palestinian cause, and the mere transmission of the news is considered an “incitement to violence”, which in turn hinders the dissemination of information and news.
In the same context, an opinion poll conducted by Sada Social, which included 195 activists and journalists from social media sites, indicates that 97% of them have been subjected to digital violations due to content related to the Palestinian cause that they posted on their accounts, 29% of them have been subjected to repeated violations more than 11 times, and 12% of them have been subjected to repeated violations From 6-10 times, and 43% of them had their accounts violated by the administrations of social media platforms 3-5 times.
The methods of violation practiced against them by the administrations of social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Tik Tok, Twitter, YouTube, and Club House) varied, as 68% of journalists and activists polled had their posts deleted, and 59% of the restricted access to their account, while 58% of journalists and activists were prevented from publishing for a certain period. 33% had their account completely deleted, and on the other hand, 54% of the respondents believed that the Telegram platform was the safe alternative to publishing their content without being subjected to violations, followed by Twitter by 45%.
Regarding the nature of the content that was violated: the results were as follows: 80% of journalists and activists were violated because of their publication of pictures with content such as martyrs, prisoners, and freedom fighters, and 75% of them were violated because of their publication of video clips related to the funerals of martyrs or military factions, while 72% of them were violated because of their publication of Words related to the Palestinian cause such as (resistance, occupation, martyrs, Hamas, Sinwar, Zakaria al-Zubaidi, Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, Islamic Jihad, operation).
The poll indicated that 12% of journalists and activists were subjected to government transgressions because of their posts containing Palestinian content on social media, 62% of them were threatened because of the published content, and 29% of them were arrested, and 52% of journalists and activists indicated that they were subjected to campaigns of incitement and defamation against them that accompanied their publication of content. Palestinian politician or nationalist.
It was remarkable that the numbers of violations against Palestinian content tripled after the then Israeli Minister of War, Benny Gantz, threatened to pursue Palestinian content, and announced the formation of a special section to combat Palestinian content on social media pages, with the participation of representatives of the army, the Shin Bet, and the Israeli occupation police, claiming that this method “Contribute to reducing tension and preventing incitement to carry out operations,” and the occupation’s submission of a request to the Meta and Tik Tok administrations to help them detect “inciters and disrupt their work,” in reference to further suppression of Palestinian content.
In a surprising move to further restrict access to information for the Palestinian user, the Meta company on the Facebook platform classified the prisoner “Zakaria Al-Zubaidi” as a dangerous person, and issued warnings to the user who searched for the name of the prisoner on the platform. Meta also classified a number of Palestinian personalities and groups as “dangerous individuals or organizations.”
During the month of Ramadan 2022, the campaign of digital violations against Palestinian content continued, and the blocking of Jerusalem content in particular during the occurrences of violations in Al-Aqsa in the month of Ramadan.
During which the Meta administration escalated its attack against Palestinian news pages and accounts due to their coverage of the events in the occupied Jerusalem, and Al-Aqsa Mosque in relation to the attacks where The occupation forces targeted worshipers as they were performing the dawn prayer on the second Friday of Ramadan.
The Center monitored a number of violations against Palestinian content due to their broadcasting of Jerusalem events that do not violate the policies of the Facebook administration and just news content.
The first half of this year showed a double standard in the way the Meta administration handled the content of the Russian and Ukrainian crisis that erupted in late February and the Palestinian content, as the digital spaces were crowded with pictures and video clips of the Russian and Ukrainian crisis, containing weapons, violent manifestations, and clips of mobilizing fighters and teaching them to manufacture weapons.
The Meta administration has not taken any measures to prevent this content or limit its access on its various platforms, at a time when the Palestinian resistance against the Israeli occupation is classified as terrorist content, and it is restricting and deleting Palestinian accounts, which confirms that the removal and blocking of Palestinian content are mainly related to a biased political stance adopted by the occupation.
Accordingly, Sada Social Center adheres to its vision of the need to defend Palestinian digital rights, as part of the quest for better use of technological progress in formulating a more just, pluralistic, and secure digital space, in which democracy, partnership, and cooperation overcome aggression, exclusion, and hatred.