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In light of the recent escalations in the region, including the devastating bombing of "Al-Ahli Arab hospital” in the heart of Gaza City, which resulted in the death of more than 500 Palestinians and the injury of hundreds, hate speech and incitement in Hebrew targeting Palestinians on social media is on the rise. In this context, 7amleh has documented over 103,000 instances of hate speech and/or incitement in Hebrew out of 120,000 posts collected between October 7th to the 18th using their recently developed "Violence Indicator". The vast majority of these instances were found on "X", which is allowing the spread of harmful content without sufficient moderation.
Hundreds of others have shared similar experiences, said Nadim Nashif, founder and director of social media watchdog group 7amleh, the Arab Center for Social Media Advancement, which has been tracking the issue. 7amleh and others suspect the platform is shadow banning, or demoting content related to the conflict in the algorithm. “Unfortunately, shadow banning is just one of the many ways in which we have seen Palestinian content silenced and censored over the last week,” he said.
7amleh-The Arab Center for Social Media Advancement documented thousands of posts on X related to the invasion and ensuing conflict that contained violent or hateful speech towards Palestinians within the week after the Hamas attacks. “These tweets, classified as hate speech and incitement, can potentially translate into real-world attacks on Palestinians, as previously seen with incitement on the same platform, leading to organized attacks by Israeli settlers on Palestinian communities both in the West Bank and Israel,” 7amleh general director Nadim Nashif said in a statement.
Israeli authorities have detained dozens of Palestinians in recent days over online posts seen as inflammatory, according to a statement by Israeli police and a Palestinian rights group. The crackdown comes as the Israeli aerial bombardment of the Gaza Strip continues for the 11th day following a surprise attack by Hamas on southern Israel on 7 October. The Israeli raids have killed at least 2,808 civilians, including 853 children, 936 women, 37 doctors and paramedics, and 13 journalists. Meanwhile, at least 61 Palestinians, including 18 children, were killed in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem by Israeli soldiers and settlers in the same period. The death toll in Israel has reached at least 1,300 people, including combatants and civilians, while 3,400 have been wounded.
The New Arab
Social media platform X, formerly Twitter, has removed "hundreds" of accounts it deemed to be "affiliated with Hamas" in an attempt to curb the spread of what it said was "violent and hateful" content online. The company's CEO Linda Yaccarino said the platform had taken down accounts which had violated policies aimed at stopping the spread of "violent and hateful content" on X. The platform also removed posts that included graphic content, it said.
Facebook-owner Meta Platforms (META.O) on Wednesday introduced temporary measures to limit "potentially unwelcome or unwanted comments" on posts about the conflict between Israel and Hamas. Meta said it will change the default setting for people who can comment on new and public Facebook posts created by users "in the region" to only their friends and followers, Meta said in an updated blog post. A Meta spokesperson declined to specify how the company defined the region. Users can opt-out and change the setting at any time, Meta said.
Noura is not alone. Lawyers and human rights organisations in Israel have received dozens of complaints from both workers and students who, since last Saturday, have been abruptly suspended from schools, universities and workplaces over social media posts or, in some cases, conversations with colleagues. Letters sent by some of their institutes or offices, reviewed by Al Jazeera, cited posts written on social media and alleged support for “terrorism” as the reason for the immediate suspension “until the matter is investigated”. In some cases, recipients have been summoned to appear before a disciplinary committee.
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