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Facebook has apologized for disabling the personal accounts from two Palestinian news organizations

Facebook has apologized for disabling the personal accounts of several editors and executives at two major Palestinian news publications, according to a report from The Electronic Intifada. Facebook says the accounts were mistakenly suspended after being reported for violating the site's community standards, but the publications believe the incident is related to Israel's recent push to combat online incitement to violence.

Four editors at the Shehab News Agency and three executives from the Quds News Network had their personal accounts disabled on Friday, according to Al Jazeera. Both Shehab and Quds cover news in the occupied Palestinian territories, and their Facebook pages have 6.3 million and 5.1 million likes, respectively. A supervisor at Quds told The Electronic Intifada on Friday that the editors were given no explanation for the suspensions, which they believe were linked to a recent agreement between Israel and Facebook to crack down on content that incites violence.

The Israeli government says online incitement has driven a wave of Palestinian street attacks over the past year, and it has called on Facebook to do more to police its platform. In July, Israel's public security minister described Facebook as a "monster" during a televised interview, and the justice ministry is pushing legislation that would force Facebook, Twitter, and other web companies to remove content that incites terrorism.

Editors from Quds and Shehab regained access to their accounts on Saturday, with Facebook blaming the suspensions on a "mistake" with its reporting system.

"The pages were removed in error and restored as soon as we were able to investigate," a Facebook spokesperson told The Electronic Intifada. "Our team processes millions of reports each week, and we sometimes get things wrong. We’re very sorry about this mistake." It is not clear what content was reported as a violation. 

On Sunday, Quds and other Palestinian journalists protested Facebook's cooperation with the Israeli government by not posting any content to their pages for two hours. The protest was organized under the #FBCensorsPalestine hashtag.

source:  The Electronic Intifada, Al Jazeera

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