Adam Shapiro, head of the Communications and Media Office at Front Line Defenders, said that developments in Palestine have led companies such as Facebook to muzzle activists and block their content, thus becoming more like a “digital dictator,” and this is what must be addressed.
Palestinian content on social media
He added in an interview on (Al-Jazeera Mubasher) that there is what can be called a “civil war” within the corridors of Facebook because the administration has communicated for years with the government of Israel and a monitoring team was established to change the so-called “inciting violence” content on Facebook.
– Al Jazeera Mubasher (@ajmubasher) June 2, 2021
The concepts of “terrorism” and “incitement” are defined in this context according to Israel’s definition of them.
Shapiro added, “What we have seen over the past weeks is the result of that meeting or that agreement that was concluded in 2016, and therefore Facebook is working on “purifying the content” in an amazing way.”
He pointed out that the matter was not limited to Facebook only, but hundreds of Amazon employees sent a message to Jeff Bezos inviting him to support the Palestinians. This has already yielded positive results.”
And the head of the Communications and Media Office at Front Line Defenders continued: “There is also another result of these campaigns, which is that Google and Instagram will rely on a third party to evaluate the algorithms and how they can move forward. And for these companies to be more transparent.”
Regarding the pressure tools that the Palestinians possess in this context, he said that the activity taking place on these platforms is essential, and the steps that hinder the accounts do not work because there are other channels through which this content can be published.
He added that the support campaigns launched by well-known personalities and celebrities who have millions of followers are also a major factor in putting pressure on companies, which will push them to change their policies.
A week ago, the search engine “Google” sparked widespread controversy and sharp criticism on social media, due to its intentional linking of the Palestinian keffiyeh to terrorism.
Google users noticed that when searching for an answer to a question in English “what do terrorists wear on their heads” topics about the Palestinian keffiyeh topped the results of the answers provided by the search engine.
The keffiyeh is a national symbol
– فُآرسًـ آلٍَآحمِـدُ (@ farisalahmad2) May 24, 2021
And Google was not satisfied with that. When searching in the images field, the search results put the image of the Palestinian keffiyeh next to pictures of terrorists raising the flag of the “Islamic State” organization or a variety of armed groups’ clothing.
This aroused the anger of Palestinian and Arab activists, who considered this matter to miss the facts, blur voices and distort the Palestinian image.
Tweeters demanded the lowest evaluation of Google because of its racism and bias towards the Israeli occupation.
It is also circulated that the Google Earth Maps service displays the general map of the Middle East without mentioning the name of Palestine on it, and the image of Palestine appears blurry on the maps.
Because Israel has, under the Kyle Benjamin Law, the only government censorship of images in the world, it is not possible to monitor the growth of settlement outposts on Palestinian land.
A large number of employees at Google had expressed their support for the Palestinians after the recent Israeli attacks, as they demanded that their companies take clear positions against what is happening.
Through open letters and public messages, the employees of the giant technology company demanded that the officials declare their clear solidarity with the Palestinians.
A coalition that includes Google and Amazon employees said the company is complicit in the killings and human rights abuses practiced by Israel on Palestine.
The alliance also indicated that the two companies signed a contract with Israel last April worth one billion dollars to provide electronic services, which employees described as part of the military support for Israel.
Facebook had apologized to all its users in Palestine and the Arab world for what happened about the ban on posts about advocating for the Palestinian cause, as well as for the deletion of Al-Aqsa Mosque photos through the Instagram application.
Facebook said in a statement that what happened was a technical error related to the “content review algorithms” on the site.
She said that the ban on some daily stories and publications, as well as photos and images of Al-Aqsa Mosque was a technical and technical error and that it will work to fix it.
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