Eduard Dolinksy, a prominent Ukrainian Jewish activist, was banned from posting on Facebook Monday night for a post about antisemitic graffiti in Odessa.Dolinsky, the director of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee, said he was blocked by the social media giant for posting a photo. “I had posted the photo which says in Ukrainian ‘kill the yid’ about a month ago,” he says. “I use my Facebook account for distributing information about antisemitic incidents and hate speech and hate crimes in Ukraine.”Now Dolinsky’s account has disabled him from posting for thirty days, which means media, law enforcement and the local community who rely on his social media posts will receive no updates.Dolinsky tweeted Monday that his account had been blocked and sent The Jerusalem Post a screenshot of the image he posted which shows a badly drawn swastika and Ukrainian writing. “You recently posted something that violates Facebook policies, so you’re temporarily blocked from using this feature,” Facebook informs him when he logs in. “The block will be active for 29 days and 17 hours,” it says. “To keep from getting blocked again, please make sure you’ve read and understand Facebook’s Community Standards.”Dolinksy says that he has been targeted in the past by nationalists and anti-semites who oppose his work. Facebook has banned him temporarily in the past also, but never for thirty days. “The last time I was blocked, the media also reported this and I felt some relief.
It was as if they stopped banning me. But now I don’t know – and this has again happened. They are banning the one who is trying to fight antisemitism. They are banning me for the very thing I do.”Based on Dolinsky’s work the police have opened criminal files against perpetrators of antisemitic crimes, in Odessa and other places. He says that some locals are trying to silence him because he is critical of the way Ukraine has commemorated historical nationalist figures, “which is actually denying the Holocaust and trying to whitewash the actions of nationalists during the Second World War.”Dolinksy has been widely quoted, and his work, including posts on Facebook, has been referenced by media in the past. “These incidents are happening and these crimes and the police should react.The society also. But their goal is to cut me off.” Ironically, the activist opposing antisemitism is being targeted by antisemites who label the antisemitic examples he reveals as hate speech. “They are specifically complaining to Facebook for the content, and they are complaining that I am violating the rules of Facebook and spreading hate speech. So Facebook, as I understand [it, doesn’t] look at this; they are banning me and blocking me and deleting these posts.”He says he tried to appeal the ban but has not been successful.“I use my Facebook exclusively for this, so this is my working tool as director of Ukrainian Jewish Committee.”
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg apologized to European Union lawmakers for a massive data leak, May 22, 2018 (Reuters)
Facebook has been under scrutiny recently for who it bans and why. In July founder Mark Zuckerberg made controversial remarks appearing to accept Holocaust denial on the site. “I find it offensive, but at the end of the day, I don’t believe our platform should take that down because I think there are things that different people get wrong. I don’t think they’re doing it intentionally.” In late July, Facebook banned US conspiracy theorist Alex Jones for bullying and hate speech.In a similar incident to Dolinsky, Iranian secular activist Armin Navabi was banned from Facebook for thirty days for posting the death threats that he receives. “This is ridiculous. My account is blocked for 30 days because I post the death threats I’m getting? I’m not the one making the threat!” he tweeted.In the same way that Dolinsky was banned for posting about hate speech which the Jewish community receives, Navabi appears to have been blocked for posting about the threats he receives. An email to Facebook inquiring about the Dolinsky case was not answered as of press time.
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