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
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.
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
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
Then, without warning, his Facebook profile was
A notice said that the account was temporarily closed “for
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
“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
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.