Global Freedom of Expression

The Attacks on Palestinian Digital Rights

Key Details

  • Region
    Middle East and North Africa
  • Themes
    Digital Rights, Content Regulation / Censorship

This report was originally published by 7amleh – The Arab Center for the Development of Social Media and is re-posted here with permission and thanks.

On Friday, May 21, 2021, 7amleh – The Arab Center for the Development of Social Media issued a new report entitled “The Attacks on Palestinian Digital Rights.” The report is based on reports of digital rights violations from May 6 – 19 and the responses of social media companies to these reports. The report shows increases in attacks on Palestinian digital rights and details the violations on various social media and technology platforms, including the spread of hate speech and incitement against Palestinians and Arabs in the Hebrew language.

7amleh documented more than 500 reports of Palestinian digital rights violations with the support of the public and civil society during the aforementioned period, which showed a significant increase in the censorship of Palestinian political speech and narrative online. Since May 6th, when the Israeli supreme court announced its decision to forcibly displace Palestinians living in East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, and following the attacks on Al-Aqsa mosque, protests and mobs of Israeli settlers targeting Palestinians, and the attacks on the Gaza Strip, large amounts of Palestinian content and accounts were removed or restricted on social media platforms.

According to the report, content and accounts were removed, reduced and restricted, hashtags were hidden, and archived content deleted. 50% of these reports were about Instagram, 35% Facebook, 11% Twitter and 1% Tik Tok. 3% of the reports did not include sufficient information to be reported to companies.

Companies did not provide an explanation for the deletion or suspension in the majority of their responses to users. However, the reasons presented to users included hate speech, violation of community standards, requesting proof of identity among others. After 7amleh’s submission of the reports to social media companies, companies recovered and restored some of these accounts and censored content. However, several reports are still under review.

Read the full report below or find it here.