Digital Rights Weekly Update 1 - 7 March


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Social media firms reject ‘shadow banning’ allegations on Palestinian-related content (English)


Social media firms have responded to allegations of “shadow banning” their users for Palestinian-related content amid the conflict in Gaza, saying that the implication that Big Tech “deliberately and systemically suppresses a particular voice” is false. They have been accused of blocking certain content or users from their online communities since the onset of the war between Israel and Hamas which started in October. Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan, for example, criticized major platforms for allegedly limiting Palestinian-related content about the war. “It can be nearly impossible to prove that you have been shadow-banned or censored. 




How Has Israel’s Use of AI Impacted the Lives and Narratives of Palestinians? (English) 


The Impact of Ai-Generated Content on Palestinians The Center underlined in its article the dangers of using AI to generate misleading and/or propaganda content for cultural or political expression, potentially impacting cultural production, freedom of expression, and public opinion. According to the paper, there is a noticeable pro-Israeli narrative bias in such content due to biases coded into the data sets collected from websites. This results in the reproduction of existing internet biases and their consolidation, spreading them more widely. 




Palestinians struggle to connect and get news amid digital shutdowns in Gaza: “Without the internet everything stops” (English)

Reuters Institute 

On 9 October Israeli defence minister Yoav Gallant announced a “complete siege” of Gaza, including the withholding of fuel and electricity, severely hampering all services that relied on a steady supply of power. Within a few weeks, Gaza’s largest telecoms provider Paltel said heavy bombardment had destroyed the last remaining infrastructure connecting the territory’s internet to the rest of the world, plunging the Strip into its first near-total blackout. According to a local expert quoted by a source at The Intercept, internet access declined by 80 to 90%. Gaza’s residents relied heavily on the internet to communicate with each other and with authorities and NGOs. But even before the war, a severe digital divide existed.




Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and Threads down in widespread outage (English) 

Arab news 

Users of Meta’s Facebook, Instagram, Threads and Messenger platforms are experiencing login issues in what appears to be a widespread outage. Internet traffic observer Down Detector is reporting vast outages on several Meta platforms Tuesday. The problems are being reported across the world, suggesting that the outage could be global.London-based Internet monitoring firm Netblocks said on X that four Meta platforms — Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and Threads — were “currently experiencing outages related to login sessions in multiple countries.” But the firm, which advocates for Internet freedom, said there was no sign of “country-level Internet disruptions or filtering,” which are typically imposed by governments.



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