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The Egyptian Alliance for Development and Human Rights condemns Mark Zuckerberg, owner of “Whatsapp”, continuing violations of the digital rights of Palestinian journalists

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Friday 4th June 2021

The Egyptian Alliance for Development and Human Rights condemns Mark Zuckerberg, owner of “Whatsapp”, continuing violations of the digital rights of Palestinian journalists

 The Egyptian Alliance for Human Rights and Development condemned Mark Zuckerberg, owner of the WhatsApp, continuing violations of Palestinian journalists’ digital rights.

 The Alliance stated that despite the calm situation in Palestine, the violations against the Palestinians are still continuing, and the espionage and targeting operations carried out by “Mark Zuckerberg” – founder of the Facebook and owner of WhatsApp- still exist, according to many media reports and press complaints. Several Palestinian journalists who have expressed their dissatisfaction with the violation of their digital rights and the banning of their personal accounts.

 It is worth noting that 17 personal accounts of journalists affiliated with the Associated Press in Gaza were banned, as the journalists confirmed that their WhatsApp accounts were banned on Friday, 21st May, however the accounts were retrieved by midday Monday, and this also included banning the accounts of (4) journalists working for Al Jazeera as well as other journalists.

Wael Al-Dahdouh, a correspondent for Al-Jazeera channel in Gaza, and one of the journalists whose accounts were banned, stated that the WhatsApp application not only banned the use of his account, but also deleted his messages and conversations.

 Al-Dahdouh confirmed that journalists participate in many groups, including the Hamas group, and that he only participated in that group to obtain the information necessary to carry out his journalistic work.

 Al Jazeera explained that when it sought information about its four journalists affected by the ban, Facebook officials told them that the company had banned a number of groups located in Gaza, and therefore the mobile phone numbers of Al Jazeera journalists were part of those groups that were banned. Which means that the blocking of these accounts was not an isolated incident

 What confirms that this targeting is intentional with regard to the Palestinian issue by those officials of those applications, which was stated in the report of the Arab Center for the Development of Social Media Sites, where the results of the report stated the fact that between the period of May 6 and May 19, (500) cases of the digital rights of Palestinians being violated.

  Despite this, social media companies did not provide an explanation for the deletion or suspension, and the majority of their responses to users ensured that these measures were taken before users of social media sites for their hate posts and violations of their standards.

 Highlighting the double standards for WhatsApp, the New York Times stated that about 100 WhatsApp groups were used by Jewish extremists in Israel for the purpose of perpetrating acts of violence against Palestinian citizens of Israel, which indicates the lack of transparency of these companies, and their lack of credibility and the fact that they are directed companies.

 The Egyptian Alliance for Development and Human Rights demands the taking of the necessary measures and penalties to address the violations committed by these companies with regards to the digital rights of users of social networking sites in general and Palestinian journalists in particular, as well as companies that work to falsify facts, spread bias and aid in suppressing basic freedoms of the individual and violating freedom laws opinion and expression.

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