Over the past week, the social media platforms have been systematically silencing and deleting users' posts who are protesting and documenting the horrors the Israeli occupation has inflicted on the indigenous Palestinians.
Many Palestinians were very devastated by this digital apartheid as they usually turn to the digital space to express themselves away from the mainstream media which doesn't only misrepresent the reality of living in the occupied territories but also whitewash Israeli crimes against them. It's important to know that these digital rights violations also affected users around the globe who uses cyberspace to expose the vicious attacks of Israeli unlawfully prolonged occupation with the failure of international bodies to act.
Follow me on TikTok. I am temp banned on my main which is @ hebhjamal but this is @hebhjamal101 which is where I’ll be posting this week. Guys support Palestinians trying to bring awareness social media is censoring us. #FreePalestine #SaveSheikhJarrah #GazaUnderAttack pic.twitter.com/KUU6uEsOGY— Hebh Jamal (@hebh_jamal) May 19, 2021
It is with this onus in mind, we find ourselves helpless but to shed the spotlight on the bias that kills the Palestinian content online and hope this is a wake-up call that would give a louder collective voice to those who speak the truth.
Social Media Giants Blame 'Technical Glitches' for the Deletion of Pro-Palestine Posts
Amid widespread activists and media professionals' public backlash due to restricting Palestinian content, the social media platforms laid all the blame on alleged 'technical errors'. Pro-Palestine activists, who turned to the digital space for airing the horrible erasure of Palestinians, were sadly surprised to find their posts, photos, or videos removed or their accounts blocked starting last week, Reuters reported.
❗️According to #Hashtag Palestine 2020 report!— 7amleh حملة (@7amleh) May 10, 2021
Here is a summary of the violations made by Technology Companies against Palestinian digital rights.
Check out the full report: https://t.co/bUqbyD0OaF #SaveSheikhJarrah #SavePalestine pic.twitter.com/i564fuT9zJ
As the tech giants Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter continue to censor Palestinians from showing the reality and whitewashing Israel’s crimes, 7amleh - the Arab Center for Social Media Development, encourages people who experienced any kind of digital rights violations, whether it's content takedown, accounts suspension, banned or other kinds of violations, to report on this link.
We @7amleh can support these cases, if any one of the activists in faces such problems, please fill in the form:https://t.co/5BU8hVUVbc#savesheikhjarrah #savepalestine #gazaunderattack pic.twitter.com/aEHtQH9X9s— 7amleh حملة (@7amleh) May 12, 2021
According to Reuters, the accounts were “suspended in error by our automated systems... The issue had been resolved and content reinstated.”
Making matters worse, social media companies — like FB, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok — are censoring Palestinians as they face military violence and evictions from their homes.— Access Now (@accessnow) May 17, 2021
As part of our TL;DR series, we explain below 🧵 #SavePalestine #SaveSheikhJarrah #الاقصى pic.twitter.com/4tX9sQQUbo
With social media companies still practicing digital apartheid, people have resorted to an app dubbed as ‘Seenس’ that allows users to use the old, original writing method for the Arabic script; Which is writing letters without dots, Albawaba reported earlier.
Google Workers Urges Company to Support Palestinians and Protect Anti-Zionist Speech
In an eloquent letter to CEO Sundar Pichai, Google employees demanded an immediate call to action from the tech behemoth to garner support for the Palestinians that are going through humanitarian crises caused by the militarized colonial violence from Israel.
The tech workers also requested Google to fund Palestinian rights organizations and added that ‘any support for Israeli humanitarian efforts must be matched by support to Palestinian-led human rights and relief efforts’.
Furthermore, the letter emphasizes the need for the largest search engine to protect freedom of speech as "any repression of freedom of expression occurring within the company is a danger not only to Googlers internally but to all people around the world."
Also, the workers made one of the boldest demands yet asking the company to ‘review of all Alphabet business contracts and corporate donations and the termination of contracts with institutions that support Israeli violations of Palestinian rights, such as the Israeli Defense Forces’.
YouTube Restricts AlJazeera Channel Broadcast
Al Jazeera, Qatari Tv Channel, reported that Google's YouTube has restricted access to its live broadcasts on the platform for coverage of the Israeli escalation in Palestine.
'Since midnight, a message has appeared from YouTube indicating that Al Jazeera's content may be inappropriate and require verification of the user's age,' the announcement reads.
Gaza Appears Blurry on Google Maps
Have you ever noticed that the images of Gaza, the most densely populated place on Earth (13k people per square km), appear blurry on Google Maps? Activists and others who are closely observing the situation in Gaza have also raised the same concerns about the blurry satellite images on Google Maps, saying it’s an attempt to hide the attack's destruction in the area as images like this could document the current Israeli bombing in Gaza.
I know this is the least of the issues going on in Gaza now, but it's absurd that Google (and Bing, and even Yandex) refuse to provide non-potato satellite imagery for some of the most densely populated places on earth, and are regularly hit by Israeli airstrikes. pic.twitter.com/c6DtcYXYvr— Aric Toler (@AricToler) May 11, 2021
As you can see in the images, the buildings of Gaza appear blurry as the most recent Google Earth image dated back to 2016 and wasn’t updated since then. This censorship was due to the 1996 US regulation that restricted the quality of satellite images American companies could provide on a commercial basis.
In a post, Google’s Communication Manager Peter Schottenfels explained that ‘Google Maps Earth is sourced from many different providers...Google aims to update satellite imagery of the places that are changing the most. Because big cities are always evolving, we try to update our satellite images every year. For medium-sized cities, we try to update images every two years, and it goes up to every three years for smaller cities. Overall our goal is to keep densely populated places refreshed on a regular basis and to keep up with a changing world, so we will refresh areas more frequently when we think there’s lots of building or road construction going on’.
Upcoming Video Games, Updates
- PUBG Mobile back to India under the brand name Battlegrounds Mobile India.
- 'Gotham Knights' Batman game Delayed to 2022
- Marvel’s Avengers [PS5] available until Monday, July 5, 2021
- Borderlands 3 [PS5] available until Wednesday, September 29, 2021
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