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Facebook Bans Journalist for Reporting on Arab Corruption

Wed, January 16, 2013

Khaled Abu Toameh, an internationally respected journalist and the Arab affairs reporter for The Jerusalem Post since 2002, is one of the few who dares to report on corruption, hypocrisy and support of terror in the Muslim world. He was recently surprised to see that Facebook had deactivated his account.

The Commentator reports that following complaints from the Palestinian Authority and Jordanian security authorities about his articles dealing with corruption, Facebook had closed him down, effectively censoring his work.

Speaking to The Commentator, Abu Toameh noted, “All I have done recently is share some articles which have been in the Jordanian press (in Arabic) about corruption. I am for transparency, against corruption, and yet they ban my account and continue to allow the leader of Hamas to have an account. I am not in favour of terrorism like he is. This is an attempt to silence me. To do this to a journalist is very bad.”

The Commentator further reports that Facebook sent a pro-forma e-mail to Abu Toameh stating, “You posted an item that violated our terms of use, and this item has been removed. Among other things, content that is hateful, threatening, or obscene is not allowed, nor is content that attacks an individual or group. Continued misuse of Facebook’s features could result in your account being disabled.”

Abu Toameh’s account was reopened 24 hours later – without explanation and minus the “offensive” posts. 

The Jerusalem Post reports that the deactivation was possibly because of a campaign by those who object to Abu Toameh’s views on corruption within the Palestinian Authority.

Abu Toameh recently posted a link to a report in a Jordanian newspaper about the corruption trial of former Jordanian intelligence chief. He also posted a link to his own recent article on Gatestone Institute, called Palestinians: Fatah’s Armed Gangs Are Back.

Abu Toameh has received hate mail and death threats from his writings before, but the response to these two particular posts was overwhelming, he said.

“Some people posted a picture of me with a Star of David on my forehead,” Abu Toameh was quoted as saying in The Jerusalem Post. “This time it looks like a concerted campaign against me.”

Even after his account was reactivated, Abu Toameh said, “It’s still a matter of censorship. They [Facebook] decide what’s acceptable. Now we have to be careful about what we post and what we share. Does this mean we can’t criticize Arab governments anymore?”

Ironically, although the leader of Hamas is allowed to maintain a Facebook account, as Abu Toamsh points out, Facebook’s terms of service state, “Organizations with a record of terrorist or violent criminal activity are not allowed to maintain a presence on our site.”