Digital Rights Weekly Update 19 - 25 January


Check out the full report


When Meta censors Palestinian content, is it really a glitch? (English)


Account suspensions, shadow bans, mistranslations of Arabic words that conflate “Palestinian” and “terrorist” — all have become hallmarks of people’s experiences when using Facebook and Instagram amid the ongoing war in Gaza. Meta, says Ashraf Zeitoon, should not be allowed to explain away these incidents as “glitches,” as they often do. Zeitoon was head of public policy for Middle East and North Africa at Meta (then Facebook) from 2014 to 2017, a role he describes as being Meta’s “ambassador to the Middle East.” He keeps in contact with folks at Meta today.




In West Bank, Israeli army ramps ups WhatsApp surveillance of Palestinians (English)


Israel increased surveillance and imposed restrictions on Palestinians' freedom of speech and movement in the West Bank after Hamas' Oct. 7 attack on southern Israel. On Nov. 8, Israel enacted an amendment to its counter-terrorism law criminalizing the "consumption of terrorist materials," a new offense. Rights experts caution that the legislation could facilitate unprecedented levels of surveillance.




Gaza Internet Blackout Conceals Israel's Human Rights Violations—And Is Itself One (English)

Common Dreams

Sharing a new graph from the watchdog NetBlocks that shows network connectivity in Gaza throughout the war, Mohammed Khader, policy manager at the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, noted that the start of the current blackout coincided with International Court of Justice (ICJ) hearings for the South African-led case accusing Israel of genocide. In addition to limiting on-the-ground reporting on the war, the current blackout "left civilians unable to call for help and aid workers struggling to reach them as Israeli airstrikes rained down on the south," The New York Timesreported Wednesday.





Dozens of doctors reported to watchdog over Israel-Gaza social media posts (English)


Dozens of doctors are under scrutiny from the national medical watchdog after sharing their views about the Israel-Gaza war on social media, including for using the term genocide, leading to claims the complaints process is being “weaponised”. The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) confirmed it was “making inquiries” into 39 practitioners after receiving 59 complaints about their social media posts.


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