Facebook’s Closure of Palestinian Pages Attacks Freedom of Expression

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إجراءات فيسبوك بحق الصفحات الفلسطينية تقوّض حرية التعبير

Madrid: Skyline International believes that Facebook’s procedures against Palestinian pages and accounts undermine freedom of expression and violate one of the most important human rights.

The organization stated that Facebook’s administration has recently threatened a group of pages to be deleted and banned from publication. Furthermore, Facebook has already deleted a group of pages and posts related to Palestine.

According to the available information, Facebook’s administration recently threatened the Quds News page with deletion, and the same has happened with other pages like “Taqadomi” and “Al-Hadaf News.”

The information also indicates that during the past month (August 2019), Facebook carried out about 16 violations against Palestinian pages and accounts.

FACEBOOK VIOLATES THE RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION

Skyline International considers the actions of Facebook a violation of the right of expression, which is guaranteed to all human beings of different nationalities, backgrounds and whereabouts, as stipulated in general and binding international conventions for all, whether individuals, institutions, organizations or countries.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that freedom of expression and publication is guaranteed by various means. 

In regards to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the two most prominent international instruments that guarantee this right, Facebook is committed to respecting this right for all.

It should also be noted that the Palestinian pages, which range from media professionals, official and non-governmental organizations, activists and websites, all operate in an environment of constant conflict; which requires the publication of violations on a daily basis.

Skyline says: “Facebook’s administration may find that some of these publications violate its standards, but it should be emphasized that these pages should take up the full area of publication without restrictions, due to the specificity of the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.”

Skyline believes that such reports and pressures are highly political and that some parties seek to exploit their influence on Facebook by closing some Palestinian pages.

The human rights organization also called on Facebook to clarify its policies related to closing pages, and not to use vague terms that are not clear to some users.

At the end of the statement, Skyline calls upon Facebook to respect all users without discrimination or political, religious or racial pressures. “It is also important to consider the increasing violations against the Palestinian pages during the past period” it adds.

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