Green Left fights another Facebook ban without warning over Gaza

Supporters of justice for Palestine are being
Supporters of justice for Palestine are being "shadow banned" and censored. Image: Green Left/Aman Kapur

EDITORIAL: By Pip Hinman and Susan Price

Meta, the giant social media corporation, has “unpublished” Green Left’s longstanding Facebook page, which had tens of thousands of followers.

We had been regularly posting stories, videos and photographs on the page from our consistent reporting of the news and views that seldom get into the mainstream media.

But our recent interviews with veteran Palestinian freedom fighter Leila Khaled have resulted in what appears to be a 10-year ban, imposed without warning, nor an avenue of appeal.

Green Left's Facebook page today
Green Left’s Facebook page today . . . Image: FB screenshot APR

Khaled, 79, is a member of the Palestinian Council (Palestine’s parliament) and a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. She lives in political exile in Jordan.

She is recognised as the Che Guevara of Palestine; she has enormous respect from Palestinians and millions of progressive people around the world.

The Facebook banning came shortly after Zionist organisations combined with right-wing media (SkyNews and the Murdoch media) to pressure Labor to say it would prevent Khaled from addressing Ecosocialism 2024 — a conference GL is co-hosting in Boorloo/Perth in June — by not only denying her a visa, but even banning her from speaking by video link.

Multiple visits
As GL reported, the excuse for such political censorship is, as the Executive Council of Australian Jewry alleged in its letter to Labor, that allowing Khaled to speak “would be likely to have the effect of inciting, promoting or advocating terrorism”.

This is nonsense.

Khaled has visited Britain on multiple occasions over the past few years. Israel issued her a visa to visit the West Bank in 1996.

She has visited Sweden and South Africa and, on one of her multiple visits, met Nelson Mandela (once also labelled a “terrorist” by the West), who warmly welcomed her.

A growing number of human rights activists, academics, journalists and community leaders have protested against this blatant political censorship. Their statements are here and we urge you to join in by sending us a short statement.

Palestinian freedom fighter Leila Khaled
Palestinian freedom fighter Leila Khaled . . . “Kurds have a national identity just as we have our identity as Palestinians.” Image: Green Left/ANF

Khaled told GL the real reason for this censorship is to “make us shut up about what Israel is doing in Gaza and the West Bank today”.

Meta has been exposed for carrying out “systematic online censorship”, particularly of Palestinian voices.

Suppression of content
In December 2023, Human Rights Watch (HRW) documented “over 1050 takedowns and other suppression of content on Instagram and Facebook that had been posted by Palestinians and their supporters, including about human rights abuses”.

Meta did not apply the same censorship to pro-Zionist posts that incited hate and violence against Palestinians.

HRW noted that “of the 1050 cases reviewed for this report, 1049 involved peaceful content in support of Palestine that was censored or otherwise unduly suppressed, while one case involved removal of content in support of Israel”.

Other studies have described the systematic “shadow banning” of pro-Palestinian posts on Facebook and Instagram.

AccessNow, which defends the “digital rights of people and communities at risk” reports that Meta is “systematically silencing the voices of both Palestinians and those advocating for Palestinians’ rights” through arbitrary content removals, suspension of prominent Palestinian and Palestine-related accounts, restrictions on pro-Palestinian users and content, shadow-banning, discriminatory content moderation policies, inconsistent and discriminatory rule enforcement.

Social media corporations, such as Meta and Elon Musk’s X (formerly Twitter), exercise a lot of power to manipulate people’s social and political views. This power has grown exponentially as more people access their news, views and information online.

Break this power
The search for ways to break this power will go on.

In the meantime there is one way readers can break the social media bans and restrictions on GL’s voice-for-the-resistance journalism: become a supporter and get GL delivered to you.

It has always been a struggle to keep people-power media projects alive. But GL has been going since 1991 and, with your help, we will not let the giant social media corporations silence us.

Republished with permission from Green Left.

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