Tamer Almisshal’s social media profiles disappeared just 24 hours after his program investigated Meta’s censorship of pro-Palestinian posts. Photo/Doha News
DOHA – Al Jazeera Arab presenter Tamer Almisshal found his verified Facebook profile deleted by Meta Platforms Inc. the day after the broadcast of his investigative show “Tip of the Iceberg.” Tamer Almisshal’s social media profiles disappeared just 24 hours after his program investigated Meta’s censorship of pro-Palestinian posts.
The episode focused on Meta’s alleged censorship of Palestinian content in an exposé entitled “Locked Space.” The investigation included a public confession from Eric Barbing, the former head of Israel’s cybersecurity division.
“After the huge success of the episode, I discovered that my personal Facebook profile had been deleted without explanation. “This really looks like some kind of revenge against the program,” said Almisshal in a statement to Al Jazeera, quoted by SINDOnews from the Doha News page, Friday (15/9/2023).
Barbing revealed that his organization specifically monitors Palestinian content based on criteria such as “liking” photos of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces. After that, they will work with Facebook to remove the content. According to Barbing, Facebook usually agrees to these requests.
Human rights and digital rights experts, interviewed for the program, unanimously agreed that there is a glaring imbalance in the way Palestinian content is restricted on the platforms.
The event also featured Julie Owono, a member of Facebook’s oversight board, who acknowledged that there were inconsistencies in the application of policies towards Palestinian material. Owono added that recommendations had been forwarded to Facebook to improve the situation.
Created by Almisshal in 2006, the deleted profile had amassed at least 700,000 followers. “There was no explanation, no warning,” Almisshal stressed, pointing out that his page had never previously violated any Facebook rules.
The investigation conducted by “Tip of the Iceberg” required an experiment involving the creation of two separate pages. One page was pro-Palestinian and the other was pro-Israel, to test how Meta handles content.
The team found major differences in the level of oversight and rule enforcement between the two pages. “This is a project that makes journalistic sense, and we are communicating with Meta on it, giving them an opportunity to speak during the investigation,” he said.
However, he never expected the consequences of this project targeting individual journalists. “I never thought it would happen,” he said. Almisshal’s account has been restored.