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UPDATED: Arab Israeli Journalist’s Page Whitewashed by Facebook

Articles were written emblazoned with his picture and a Star of David drawn on his forehead.
Khaled abu Toameh is fearless.

Khaled abu Toameh is fearless.
Photo Credit: Yori Yanover

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And then, this week, abu Toameh posted two articles from Jordanian media sites, in Arabic, that apparently went too far.  The articles were about Mohammed al-Dahabi, Jordan’s former Intelligence Chief, who was sentenced to 13 years in prison for embezzlement.  Authorities discovered that al-Dahabi had confiscated more than $50 million in public funds. Abu Toameh posted the articles on his page, without comment.  While there were some comments posted in response on his page, abu Toameh suddenly received many more threatening emails calling him, “Zionist dog,” and asking him why he did not “write about the corruption of [his] Zionist handlers.”

Those were the last items abu Toameh posted before his page was removed by Facebook.

During Tuesday’s phone interview with The Jewish Press, abu Toameh remarked, “now I’m getting messages that my twitter account has been hacked.” He added, as he went through the messages he was receiving, “the enemies of truth are at work.”

And then, just a few hours after the interview, abu Toameh contacted The Jewish Press to say that his Facebook page was back up, with no explanation for its disappearance.

Less than an hour later, however, we again heard from abu Toameh: the articles about corruption in the PA and by the former Jordanian Intelligence Chief had been deleted from his page before it was reinstated.

Had those articles about Arab corruption not been deleted, it would be possible to dismiss the Facebook page removal as merely a technical error.  Given that those articles were scrubbed, it appears much more likely that someone is being pressured to keep information about Arab corruption off Facebook, or at least off of Facebook pages where the charges are given credence by an Arab.

Many are aware that it is not easy to have Facebook pages removed – there are easily dozens of anti-Semitic, neo-Nazi pages extolling the virtues of brutal violence, Jew-hatred, and even, as abu Toameh told The Jewish Press, “Hamas leaders have Facebook accounts, as do hundreds of Jihadi terrorists.”  So why was abu Toameh targeted, with little notice and no explanation?

At the very least what happened to abu Toameh could be construed as a breach of contract by Facebook.  And wouldn’t the discovery process of a lawsuit reveal interesting information about why his page was pulled, at whose behest, and who authorized the scrubbing of some of abu Toameh’s postings?

A bedrock of the Facebook Principles is the

Social Value – People should have the freedom to build trust and reputation through their identity and connections, and should not have their presence on the Facebook Service removed for reasons other than those described in Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.

Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities contains very few restrictions, most of which have to do with trying to game people through various pyramid schemes or uploading viruses.  The only restrictions that could conceivably apply are

7. You will not post content that is: hate speech, threatening or pornographic, incites violence or contains nudity, or graphic or gratuitous violence.

and

10.  You will not use Facebook to do anything unlawful, misleading, malicious or discriminatory.

The articles removed from abu Toameh’s page were news articles published elsewhere by abu Toameh himself, and by other media outlets with respect to the corruption of the former Jordanian Intelligence Chief.  Therefore, one is hard pressed to find a legitimate reason for what happened.  Unless Facebook can prove otherwise, it has violated its own terms, policies and principles.

Facebook did not respond to requests for comment prior to publication.

UPDATE Several hours after this article was originally published, abu Toameh received the following email from Facebook:

Hello,
 
A member of our team accidentally removed something you posted on Facebook. This was mistake, and we sincerely apologize for this error. We’ve since restored the content, and you should now be able to see it.

The Facebook Team

Abu Toameh contacted The Jewish Press after the articles reappeared on his Facebook page this morning.  He told us that he had not yet contacted Facebook about the deletions.  The publicity caused by Facebook’s shocking actions, including this and other articles, petitions, emails and tweets of support and shock directed towards Facebook, caused the wrong to be righted.  Score one for the good guys.  Now let’s see if the picture of abu Toameh with the Magen David on his forehead like a target can be removed.

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About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.


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11 Responses to “UPDATED: Arab Israeli Journalist’s Page Whitewashed by Facebook”

  1. Tim Upham says:

    Like Taha in the motion picture "Exodus," they hung him and carved a Star of David onto his chest. We obviously have not changed since 1960.

  2. Les Legato says:

    Zuckerberg is a jino. Probably some jihadi stockholder told him to take it down.

  3. Chaiya Eitan says:

    This was attributed to an 'error' – yeah…right….this whole thing stinks….worse than yesterday's catch from the Kinneret.

  4. Gil Gilman says:

    Hmmm…maybe I'm next, but no one at FBook has an axe to grind against me…yet ;-).

  5. Don Mcglaun says:

    Strangely enough, last month I complained to facebook about a couple of 'hate' sites that went unchecked in their tirade against Israel and the Jews. Their response was that they could find nothing wrong with the pages. However, this reporter was sanctioned for apparently much less provocative language that happened to be a true story. Rave on facebook!

  6. Don Mcglaun says:

    Strangely enough, last month I complained to facebook about a couple of 'hate' sites that went unchecked in their tirade against Israel and the Jews. Their response was that they could find nothing wrong with the pages. However, this reporter was sanctioned for apparently much less provocative language that happened to be a true story. Rave on facebook!

  7. Grace Acosta says:

    Every time abu Toameh writes an article, it needs to be posted to OUR facebook pages, cross posted to friends, and tweeted. Spread the word, he cannot be silenced!

  8. Jane Smith says:

    Until the Jihadists and those sympathetic to them are removed from the US Government, this kind of crap will continue. There definitely needs to be an alternative to Facebook.

  9. God bless you for your fearless work in truth.

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