Days after Instagram and Twitter blamed “system errors” for deleted posts on unrest in Jerusalem, a coalition of civil society groups and digital rights activists have accused them of continuing to “censor” Palestinian content.
Palestinians facing eviction from occupied East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood have taken to social media to protest. Since last week, reports have emerged of some posts, photos and videos being removed and accounts being blocked for reportedly violating community standards.
In a joint statement on Monday, more than 20 groups called out Facebook and Twitter for “systematically silencing users protesting” and urged them to implement “transparent and coherent content moderation policies.”
Terming the scale of the content takedowns as “egregious and pronounced,” the signatories said they were indicative of a “wider pattern of consistent censorship of Palestinian and allied voices” that has been “documented for years.”
Last Friday @article19org joined a host of other civil society organizations to demand Facebook and Twitter stop deleting evidence and posts on #SheikhJarrah. As the situation escalates in Jerusalem, this demand still stands. @7amleh @SMEX @accessnow @EFF https://t.co/YcE9nwwe43 pic.twitter.com/l69qgORkmS— ARTICLE19 MENA (@Article19MENA) May 10, 2021
According to Instagram and Twitter, the accounts were “suspended in error by our automated systems.” A Reuters report stated that both platforms had apologized and claimed “the issue had been resolved and content reinstated.”
In a statement on Friday, Instagram said that an automated update last week had caused content that was reshared by multiple users to appear “as missing,” which impacted “tens of millions of stories,” including posts on Sheikh Jarrah and other troubled areas.