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Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Facebook temporarily banned JPost reporter who exposes PA corruption

Abu Toameh pointed out that Facebook allows Hamas leaders and known
terrorists to maintain profiles.

Facebook temporarily bans 'Post' reporter
By MELANIE LIDMAN The Jerusalem Post 01/15/2013 20:24
http://www.jpost.com/NationalNews/Article.aspx?id=299688

Facebook temporarily shut down The Jerusalem Post reporter Khaled Abu Toameh’s
Facebook page, possibly in response to a campaign by anti-Israel activists
who object to Abu Toameh’s views on corruption within the Palestinian
Authority.

On Monday, Abu Toameh posted a link to an Arabic report in a Jordanian
newspaper about the corruption trial of former Jordanian intelligence chief.
He also posted a link to an acerbic blog post slamming the PA that he wrote
for the Gatestone Institute, where he is a contributor.

“The truth sometimes hurts,” Abu Toameh wrote in the blog post. “That is why
the Palestinian Authority has been working hard to prevent the outside world
from hearing about many occurrences that reflect negatively on its leaders
or people.”

Hate mail and death threats poured into Abu Toameh’s inbox. While the
veteran reporter has received hate mail before, he said the response to the
last two posts was overwhelming.

Abu Toameh received a message from Facebook stating he had posted an item
that violates the terms of use of Facebook.

Then, without warning, his Facebook profile was terminated.

A notice said that the account was temporarily closed “for security
reasons.”

The account was reopened 24 hours later, but with the two posts deleted and
no explanation.

“I think if they get a certain number of reports, they immediately block you
for security reasons,” Abu Toameh said on Tuesday. Multiple requests to
Facebook for comment went unanswered.

“Some people posted a picture of me with a Star of David on my forehead,”
said Abu Toameh. “This time it looks like a concerted campaign against me,”
he added.

“I find it strange that Facebook rushes to close [my profile] down without
checking.

Especially as a journalist, it really harms me, that’s my way of being in
touch with my sources and my readers.”

Abu Toameh pointed out that Facebook allows Hamas leaders and known
terrorists to maintain profiles.

“It’s still a matter of censorship,” he said, after his profile was
reopened. “They 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?” According to Facebook’s terms of service, the site
reserves the right to remove any content or notify law enforcement “when we
perceive a genuine risk of physical harm, or a direct threat to public
safety.”

“Organizations with a record of terrorist or violent criminal activity are
not allowed to maintain a presence on our site,” the terms state.

Abu Toameh has been the Post’s Arab affairs reporter since 2002.

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