Banned by Facebook

What happens when you tell the truth about the so called Palestinians (sic) on Facebook; even providing primary source links to verify our statements? If you're Israeli Arab Jerusalem Post reporter Khaled Abu Toameh you get death threats and so many complaints to Facebook that they close your account. According to the Algemeiner Journal, which cited The Commentator 

In speaking this morning to us, Abu Toameh noted, "All I have done recently is share some articles which have been in the Jordanian press (in Arabic) about corruption. I am for transparency, against corruption, and yet they ban my account and continue to allow the leader of Hamas to have an account. I am not in favour of terrorism like he is. This is an attempt to silence me. To do this to a journalist is very bad."

Facebook sent the following pro-forma e-mail to Abu Toameh yesterday evening: "You posted an item that violated our Terms of Use, and this item has been removed. Among other things, content that is hateful, threatening, or obscene is not allowed, nor is content that attacks an individual or group. Continued misuse of Facebook's features could result in your account being disabled."

Toameh also told The Commentator that over the past few days, he has been the subject of much online abuse, as well as threats and an apparently concerted smear campaign against him.

This recently culminated in the posting of an article on the '' website, accusing Toameh of being an 'Israeli Hasbara agent' and showing a picture of him with the Star of David on his head. The website is run by 'Haitham Sabbah', who is based out of Tulkarm in the West Bank.

A day later, Abu Toameh's account was reinstated--without the "articles which have been in the Jordanian press (in Arabic) about corruption." As he explained to the Jerusalem Post,

"I think if they get a certain number of reports, they immediately block you for security reasons," Abu Toameh said on Tuesday. Multiple requests to Facebook for comment went unanswered.

"Some people posted a picture of me with a Star of David on my forehead," said Abu Toameh. "This time it looks like a concerted campaign against me," he added.

"I find it strange that Facebook rushes to close [my profile] down without checking.

Especially as a journalist, it really harms me, that's my way of being in touch with my sources and my readers."

Abu Toameh pointed out that Facebook allows Hamas leaders and known terrorists to maintain profiles.

"It's still a matter of censorship," he said, after his profile was reopened. "They decide what's acceptable. Now we have to be careful about what we post and what we share. Does this mean we can't criticize Arab governments anymore?" According to Facebook's terms of service, the site reserves the right to remove any content or notify law enforcement "when we perceive a genuine risk of physical harm, or a direct threat to public safety."

"Organizations with a record of terrorist or violent criminal activity are not allowed to maintain a presence on our site," the terms state.

But...but...Hamas and its operatives and supporters still disgrace Facebook with their pages. Does this mean that Facebook endorses Hamas and their supporters with their "record of terrorist or violent criminal activity" and believes they do not constitute "a genuine risk of physical harm, or a direct threat to public safety" despite their horrific record of slaughter and hate?

Yes, there are untold billions of Facebook postings which makes monitoring of acceptable content, content free of postings that are "hateful, threatening, or obscene ...content that attacks an individual or group" difficult. A certain selectivity is required; selecting Hamas and its supporters for monitoring should be fundamental to Facebook; certainly they have enough search features to do so.

Maybe Facebook should use their new search feature.

hat tip: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs