Tamer Almisshal, a presenter for Al Jazeera Arabic, found his Facebook profile deleted by Meta just 24 hours after his show, "Tip of the Iceberg," aired an investigative report titled "The Locked Space," which delved into Meta's alleged censorship of Palestinian content, reports Al Jazeera.
Almisshal confirmed that the deleted profile was his personal page, established by him back in 2006 and verified, boasting a substantial following of at least 700,000 users.
"After the huge success of the episode, I discovered that my personal Facebook profile had been deleted with no explanations given. "It really does seem like some kind of revenge for the programme. We haven't received any response from Facebook yet," he told Al Jazeera.
Al Jazeera has reportedly sought clarification from Facebook regarding the sudden closure of Almisshal's profile, but as of the time of publication, no response had been received.
The program, broadcast last Friday, featured admissions from Eric Barbing, the former head of Israel's cybersecurity apparatus, regarding their efforts to monitor Palestinian content based on specific criteria, including engaging with content depicting Palestinians killed by Israeli forces. Subsequently, the agency would appeal to Facebook to have such content removed.
According to Barbing, Facebook typically complied with these requests, and Israel's security apparatus monitored cases, even resorting to legal action when necessary.
Building upon Barbing's revelations, the program interviewed several experts in human and digital rights, who concurred that there was an evident bias in how Palestinian content was restricted on the platform.
The program also spoke with Julie Owono, a member of Facebook's oversight board, who acknowledged discrepancies in how rules were interpreted and applied to Palestinian content. She added that recommendations had been submitted to Facebook to rectify these disparities.
To gauge the extent of the disparity in how Facebook treated Palestinian and Israeli posts and material, the program conducted an experiment, creating two separate pages – one with a pro-Palestinian perspective and the other with a pro-Israeli stance – and subjected them to trials.
The team's conclusion was that there was indeed a significant divergence in the level of scrutiny and the application of rules to posts on each page.
"There was no explanation, no warning," Almisshal said, adding "There had been no issues with any of the content on my page before. No message saying I had violated any rules."
Almisshal stands by his programme.
"Last March, Facebook restricted my account, and it has happened other times, but usually the situation is resolved," he said.
He further added, "This was a journalistically sound project, and we communicated with Meta for it, giving them the opportunity to speak during the investigation.
"But to target a journalist individually instead – I would never have expected that."