An Israeli think-tank is reporting that on 12 October 2021, Facebook announced that it had permanently blocked the Arabic-language Facebook page of the Hamas-affiliated Shehab News Agency because it had repeatedly violated the rules of the Facebook community regarding hate speech and the promotion of violence. According to the article:
For the second time in recent months, Facebook announced it was blocking the Hamas-affiliated Shehab News Agency page, accusing it of violating Facebook’s community standards against promoting violence, despite having been notified. Shehab then posted a notice claiming that this time Majed Faraj, the head of Palestinian Authority (PA) General Intelligence, had been involved in blocking its site.
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With nearly 7.5 million followers, Shehab News, first established in 2007, was among the largest Palestinian news pages in terms of follower count. In 2015, it saw its first removal from Facebook for featuring “graphic violence.” It is part of the Al-Aqsa Media Network, which runs TV and radio stations and web news platforms, and is closely affiliated with Hamas. Al-Aqsa Media regularly features interviews with Hamas officials, some of whom have used these interviews to call for a genocide against Jews.
A July 2021 Israeli news article reported that Shehab’s Facebook page and website had become inaccessible but later were back online. A new Arabic-language Shehab News account was created shortly after the recent Facebook ban but has not achieved significant follower numbers. It is unclear whether this site is maintained by Shehab staff. An English-language Shehab News page is currently still operational.
During and after the May 2021 violent flare-up between Israel and violent Palestinian groups, pro-Palestinian Facebook users worldwide were highly critical of Facebook, claiming the company was helping Israel’s public discourse by deleting hundreds of Palestinian posts and censoring sites critical of Israel.
The Hamas charter says that it is “one of the wings of the Muslim Brothers in Palestine,” and a Hamas journalist has acknowledged the role that the “international Muslim Brotherhood” has played in providing funds for the purchase of weapons. Hamas is known to be supported financially and politically by the Global Muslim Brotherhood.
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