Facebook apologizes for closing Arab-Israeli journalist’s page

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Facebook apologized to an Israeli –Arab journalist for closing his Facebook account and removing posts.

Facebook last week closed for 24 hours the account of the Jerusalem Post’s Arab affairs reporter Khaled Abu Toameh, for what it said was “security reasons.” The account was opened one day later with two posts critical of corruption in the Palestinian Authority and in Jordan removed. Toameh had received hate mail and death threats due to the posts, according to the Jerusalem Post.

Toameh wrote in a column published Friday by the Gatestone Institute that “Facebook’s move came at a time when Arab dictatorships in general, and the Palestinian Authority in particular, have been cracking down on Facebook users.”
Toameh pointed out that some Arab countries, including the PA, have set up teams to monitor Facebook and other social media for critics. 

“But the problem becomes worse when Facebook itself starts removing material that bothers dictatorships and tyrants,” he wrote. “One can only hope that the same Facebook employee who ‘accidentally’ removed the article will make the same mistake and close down accounts belonging to terrorist organizations and their leaders.”

Facebook allows Hamas leaders and other known terrorists to maintain pages.

Help us tell the Jewish story with reporting from around the world. Please donate to JTA.

Click to write a letter to the editor.