Imagine being kicked out of your home and then not being allowed to speak about it. This has been going on for the people of Palestine since the Nakba in 1948 when lands and regions were unlawfully partitioned for Israeli settlers.
Earlier in 2021, an Israeli court had ordered the eviction of almost a dozen Palestinian families from the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem. Mass demonstrations and protests ensued, which have led to the ongoing Palestinian struggle that the world has been seeing for the last month or so.
However, during this time, the social media giants Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have taken it upon themselves to remove the posts that highlight the conditions of Palestinians in the streets of Jerusalem.
Regarding Instagram, a news report explained that the “art of the escalation that happened is that they were even taking down hashtags, they were hiding hashtags like Al-Aqsa, which is something new”.
Many social media users have contacted Instagram to clarify the apparent censorship and restrictions on their posts, but have been unable to get a response.
Facebook users around the world, and Palestinians in particular, are being silenced on the platform through its “use of Artificial Intelligence that identifies what content violates their user guidelines”. A number of influencers and public figures have been able to get their content recovered after reaching out to them, but nothing has been done about the deleted content that had been posted by the normal user base.
Note that many Facebook accounts posting pro-Palestinian content have either been restricted or given warnings by the authorities.
Finally, there is the Twitter puzzle that everyone on the opposing block is struggling to solve. Jack Dorsey’s app is blocking the promotion of hashtags such as #Palestine, #SavePalestine, #IsraelApartheid, and #AlAqsa.
— Yasser (@yasserashour95) May 7, 2021
Social media users have started visiting the Google Play Store app to leave one-star ratings for these popular platforms for ‘playing their biased rhetoric against Palestinians’.
The Facebook ecosystem that supports Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp has begun issuing cryptic statements about the ensuing developments. One such statement read:
“Our users faced significant issues accessing certain hashtags and content – including our Palestinian community. We sincerely apologize for the frustration this has caused and assure you that we were in no way trying to limit anyone’s ability to freely express themselves”.
This is nothing more and nothing less of a charade, and the voice of Palestine is still being restrained without remorse.