JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Jerusalem Post’s Arab affairs reporter said Facebook apologized for closing his account and removing posts.
Khaled Abu Toameh wrote in a column published Jan. 18 by the Gatestone Institute that Facebook issued a “sincere apology” and that a member of its team had “accidentally removed something you posted on Facebook. This was a mistake.”
Toameh said the social networking site cited "security reasons" for shutting down his account for 24 hours last week. One day later the account was reopened with posts critical of corruption in the Palestinian Authority and Jordan deleted. Toameh had received hate mail and death threats due to the posts, according to The Jerusalem Post.
"Facebook’s move came at a time when Arab dictatorships in general, and the Palestinian Authority in particular, have been cracking down on Facebook users," Toameh wrote on the website of Gatestone, an international policy council and think tank.
Toameh pointed out that some Arab countries and the Palestinian Authority have established teams to monitor Facebook and other social media for critics.
"But the problem becomes worse when Facebook itself starts removing material that bothers dictatorships and tyrants," he wrote. "One can only hope that the same Facebook employee who ‘accidentally’ removed the article will make the same mistake and close down accounts belonging to terrorist organizations and their leaders."
Facebook allows Hamas leaders and other known terrorists to maintain pages.