Facebook says it made a mistake in disabling the personal accounts of several editors and executives at two major Palestinian news publications, according to a report from The Electronic Intifada.
“The pages were removed in error and restored as soon as we were able to investigate,” a Facebook spokesperson has told The Electronic Intifada. “Our team processes millions of reports each week, and we sometimes get things wrong. We’re very sorry about this mistake.”
Facebook says the accounts were mistakenly suspended after being reported for violating the site’s community standards, but the publications believe the incident is related to Israel’s recent push to combat online incitement to violence.
The Israeli government says online incitement has driven a wave of Palestinian street attacks over the past year, and it has called on Facebook to do more to police its platform. In July, Israel’s public security minister described Facebook as a “monster” during a televised interview, and the justice ministry is pushing legislation that would force Facebook, Twitter, and other web companies to remove content that incites terrorism.
Facebook has faced accusations of censorship in the past, as it becomes an increasingly important source of news for its 1.6 billion users. Together with Twitter and Google, it has also come under pressure from lawmakers in Europe and the US to more swiftly remove extremist content from terrorist organizations and far-right groups[The Verge and The Electronic Intifada]