Archive for the ‘ Internet ’ Category

Facebook takes down page of Palestine news site

October 11, 2019

Facebook on Wednesday deleted the page of the Palestinian Information Center (PIC) in a move, the news site says, which is part of its war on Palestinian content on social media networks.

The site’s management said Facebook provided them with no prior warning before deleting the page, which had nearly five million followers, without any justification.

They called on Facebook to reinstate the page and stop its battle against Palestinian content, saying they have contested the ban.

The Palestinian Information Center has previously been forced to suspend posting on Facebook after the social media giant banned the accounts of some of its directors. Member of management have also seen their accounts deleted and removed.

The blocking of the PIC’s page comes as part of an extensive campaign in recent weeks that included many Palestinian social media platforms.

The Palestinian Information Center was founded in December 1997 in Arabic, as the first Palestinian news site, dedicated to advocating the Palestinian cause and the Arab conflict with the Zionist occupier. It is biased in favor of the rights of the Palestinian people and their sanctities and the legitimate right to resist the occupier by all legitimate and internationally guaranteed means. It is the only Palestinian site that broadcasts its material in eight languages.

Earlier this week, journalists and activists in Palestine launched a social media campaign against Facebook’s censorship of Palestinian content.

Using the hashtag FBblocksPalestine, the drive hopes to bring to light “the threat posed by Facebook against Palestinian content, and to make it public, as well as reveal the double-standard policy of Facebook management in dealing with Israeli and Palestinian incitement on its site,” says Eyad Rifai, head of Sada Social Centre which is running the drive.

Source: Middle East Monitor.


Aleppo girl Bana Alabed named among Time’s most influential people on internet

June 27, 2017

An eight-year-old Syrian girl who drew global attention with her Twitter updates from the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo was named one of the most influential people on the internet by Time Magazine.

Other people on this year’s list included British author J.K. Rowling, pop singer Rihanna, celebrity Kim Kardashian, and U.S. President Donald Trump.

Time makes its annual choice based on those with global influence on social media and in generating news headlines.

Helped by her mother Fatemah, who manages the @AlabedBana Twitter account, Bana Alabed uploaded pictures and videos of life amidst the Syrian war, gaining around 365,000 followers on the micro-blogging site since last September.

“I can’t go out because of the bombing please stop bombing us,” Bana wrote when she first joined Twitter on Sept. 24, 2016.

“Aleppo is very good city but we need peace. I want to live like a child but instead I am stressed now,” she wrote.

Last December, Bana, who was seven at the time, and her family were evacuated safely from the rebel-held eastern part of Aleppo to Turkey, where they were greeted by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan at his palace.

Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011 when Bashar Assad’s regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests, which erupted as part of the Arab Spring uprisings.

Since then, more than 400,000 people have been killed and more than 11 million have been displaced, 6.3 million internally and 5.1 million externally, across the war-battered country, according to the U.N.

Turkey, hosting more than 3 million Syrian refugees, which accounts for around 45 percent of all Syrian refugees in the region, has spent around $25 billion helping and sheltering refugees during that time.

Source: Daily Sabah.


Facebook closes accounts of Palestine activists

January 7, 2017

Facebook has closed the accounts of a number of Palestinian activists after using a hashtag lamenting a Palestinian assassinated by Israel 20 years ago, Quds Press reported yesterday.

Former female prisoner Ghofran Zamel, fiancée of Hassan Salameh who is spending several life sentences in Israeli jails, said that she was surprised to find her Facebook account was shut down yesterday.

Zamel said that when she wanted to open her accounts, a message appeared telling her that the accounts were closed but without giving any reasons. She said she sent messages to Facebook to complain.

Meanwhile, several activists reported their accounts were closed in addition to accounts managed by Hamas activists after using a hashtag which praised a Hamas fighter.

On 3 January, a bill authorising Israeli courts to block or delete social media content under the pretext of incitement passed its first hurdles in the Knesset.

Israeli TV Channel 7 said that this bill, if passed into law, would give the Israeli courts the power to shut down websites inciting against Israel and close Facebook or Twitter accounts that are considered as inciting to violence or that are provocative.

Source: Middle East Monitor.


Palestinians launch drive against Facebook ‘censorship’

30 September 2016 Friday

Palestinian activists have recently launched a campaign to boycott Facebook after the popular social-media platform blocked several Palestinian accounts and deleted numerous posts — at Israel’s request — for alleged “incitement”.

Earlier this week, campaigners — using the hashtag #FBCensorsPalestine — called on supporters to refrain from posting on Facebook between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. (Jerusalem time) on Sept. 25.

Hussam al-Zayegh, the campaign’s Gaza-based spokesman, told Anadolu Agency that the initiative had been launched in response to what he described as Facebook’s “pro-Israel bias”.

According to al-Zayegh, the world’s most popular social-networking site is actively working to undermine Palestinian activists and journalists who rely on Facebook to help spread their message.

Earlier this month, Facebook signed an agreement with the Israeli authorities that will — among other things — allow the latter to monitor all Palestinian content posted on Facebook and delete whatever posts, pages or personal accounts that are deemed objectionable.

According to Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, Facebook administrators have complied with some 95 percent of the Israeli authorities’ requests to date.

“We demand that the Facebook administration clarify the agreement signed with Israel, which we believe targets freedom of opinion and expression,” al-Zayegh said.

The agreement, he went on to assert, directly contributes to the persecution of Palestinian activists — both on the ground and in cyberspace.

Al-Zayegh and his fellow campaigners intend to push ahead with the initiative until all its demands have been been met.

“We will not stop our campaign until Facebook withdraws from the agreement and respects international laws and standards safeguarding the freedom of opinion and expression,” he said.

Next Friday, according to al-Zayegh, members of the campaign plan to stage a demonstration outside Facebook’s New York headquarters to press for their demands.

Accounts blocked

Recently, the Facebook accounts of 12 administrators and editors at two leading Palestinian news agencies — Shehab News Agency and the Al-Quds News Network — were deleted without prior notice or warning.

Mohamed al-Zaneen, an editor at Shehab News Agency, told Anadolu Agency that he had not been able to accesses his account for more than five days.

“I believe this step was taken after the agreement was struck between the Facebook administration and Israel,” al-Zaneen said, adding that his account had also been blocked during Israel’s 2014 war on the Gaza Strip.

According to officials at the two news agencies, dozens of letters were sent to the Facebook administration asking why the pages had been blocked.

Facebook later restored the blocked pages and apologized for what it said had been a “mistake”.

Global audience

According to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club, over 120 Palestinians — including 20 women — have been detained by the Israeli authorities for alleged “incitement to violence” on Facebook.

Due to a lack of evidence, most of these were held under Israel’s policy of “administrative detention”, which allows “suspects” to be held indefinitely without charge or trial.

Mustafa Barghouti, a Palestinian MP and leader of the Palestinian National Initiative Party, told Anadolu Agency that Palestinian activists — through the use of social media — had recently succeeded in bringing Palestinian suffering before a global audience and exposing the crimes of Israel’s decades-long occupation.

This was especially the case, Barghouti noted, during Israel’s devastating military onslaught against the Gaza Strip in 2014 and the subsequent third Palestinian “intifada” (“uprising”).

“Palestinian activists have succeeded in winning a large part of public opinion over to the Palestinian cause,” he said. “Israel now sees these social-media activists as a major threat to its international image.”

Barghouhti went to assert that Israel’s policy of arresting Palestinians for alleged “incitement” over posts made on social media “will not deter young Palestinian activists from exposing the occupation’s ongoing crimes”.

Source: World Bulletin.


Gov’t cracks down on IS on Facebook and Twitter

Tue 14 October / Oct 2014

AMMAN, Jordan (The Washington Post) — A young man dressed in brown prison garb entered the defendant’s cage in Jordan’s newly empowered state security court and listened politely as an intelligence officer he had never met began testifying against him.

“Sir, I apologize for the interruption, your Excellency, but this is my first time before a court, and I am unsure of the correct proceedings or my rights?” the defendant interjected.

The man in the cage late last month was Wassim Abu Ayesh, 20, a Jordanian from the city of Irbid who was arrested in August and charged with “promoting terrorist ideology and propaganda through social media.” Specifically, the prosecutor alleged, Abu Ayesh had posted an Islamic State YouTube video on his Facebook page — a crime now punishable by five to 15 years in prison.

For years, Jordan’s security apparatus has closely surveilled threats posed by the country’s large refu­gee population, homegrown militants and radical Islamists, especially after Iraqi operatives bombed three Amman hotels in 2005, killing 60 people. There have been both crackdowns and soft-power attempts to encourage moderate expressions of Islam.

Now, the pro-Western monarchy is responding to the rapid rise of the Islamic State in neighboring Syria and Iraq with a tough, recently amended anti-terror law, enacted in June by King Abdullah II, a close U.S. ally. Fearing contagion, Jordan has announced that it will not tolerate any open activity, recruitment or support for the Islamic State, also known as ISIS.

“Our position is that it is not okay to wave ISIS flags,” said Mohammad Al Momani, minister of state for media affairs. “It is against the law, and you will be arrested.”

The Islamic State and its supporters “will not find a hospitable environment in Jordan,” he said.

A Jordanian human-rights activist and legal advocate, Taher Nassar, said the June amendments to the country’s 2006 anti-terror law have given authorities a “blank check” to arrest dissidents and Islamists alike without charges, and to expand crackdowns beyond suspected terrorists to include government opponents.

“Under the new anti-terror law, any phrase, photo or video shared online can be construed as ‘inciting terrorism’ no matter what the content actually is,” said Nassar, whose clients include a journalist and six opposition activists facing terrorism charges at the state security court for comments posted on their Facebook pages.

As many as 2,000 Jordanians have fought in Syria over the past three years, according to estimates by the London-based International Center for the Study of Radicalization — not only for the Islamic State, but also for various religious militias as well as the Free Syrian Army. In recent months, small, scattered demonstrations of support for the Islamic State have taken place in Amman, Zarqa and Maan, where masked youths have waved homemade Islamic State banners.

According to Islamists and their attorneys, between 60 and 90 Jordanians have been arrested for alleged ties to the Islamic State under the new anti-terror law. So far, only 11 have been referred to the security court.

Of those, the case of Abu Ayesh, the accused Facebook poster, was the first to be heard.

In this opening session, presided over by three military judges, the first witness was Mohammed Youssef Ibrahim, an officer with Jordan’s General Intelligence Department.

The defendant was represented by Moussa Abdallat, a feisty defense attorney for Islamist movements, who wore a rumpled suit and stained tie. The courtroom was empty, except for guards and a couple of foreign journalists.

The trial got underway with the defendant, Abu Ayesh, swearing that during his many interrogation sessions, he repeatedly told the intelligence officers: “I am against killing and I am against the Islamic State in Jordan.”

He added that while in prison he was handed a statement written by his interrogators and made to sign his name without reading it.

Attorney Abdallat: “Did Wassim or did Wassim not tell you that he was against killing and against the Islamic State in Jordan?”

The intelligence officer paused, looked at the ceiling, and answered, “I don’t remember.”

The defense told the judges that the video in question was not made by the Islamic State.

Attorney Abdallat: “In Wassim’s ‘confession,’ did he or did he not tell you that the video in question that he put on his Facebook page had to do with the Abu Ghraib prison [in Iraq] and the abuses by the Iraqi government there and was not in fact a pro-Islamic State video?”

Agent Ibrahim: “I am not sure.”

Attorney Abdallat: “‘I am not sure?’ Is there not a big difference between a video about Shiite abuses against Sunni Iraqis in Abu Ghraib prison and a video promoting the Islamic State? Did he not say this?”

Agent Ibrahim: “I do not remember.”

Attorney Abdallat: “Did you, personally, see his Facebook page? His Twitter posts?”

Agent Ibrahim: “I do not know how to use Facebook or Twitter.”

Attorney Abdallat (incredulously): “Then how do you know my client promoted Islamic State propaganda on Facebook?”

The intelligence officer said he never questioned the defendant and had only read the case file of evidence assembled against him. The defense attorney demanded to see the file. The intelligence agent replied, “It is classified.”

The judge reminded the attorney, “You know intelligence department files are classified.”

After this exchange continued for another 10 minutes, the defendant pleaded not guilty. The judge said the trial would reconvene later in October.

Source: al-Ghad.


Hamas launches Hebrew website

13 July 2014 Sunday

Qassam Brigades, the military arm of the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas, said it has launched a new website in Hebrew.

It added in a statement on Saturday that the website contains videos, breaking news and reports about ongoing Israeli strikes on the Gaza Strip.

The brigades said the website also contains speeches, statements and photo albums of the victims of the Israeli operations in Gaza.

It called the website “Empty Field of Stalks”. The brigades gave the same name to its resistance to the ongoing Israeli onslaught on the Gaza Strip.

At least 165 Gazans, mostly civilians, have been killed and hundreds injured since Monday in a series of Israeli airstrikes.

Israel’s military offensive, dubbed “Operation Protective Edge,” is ostensibly aimed at ending rocket fire from Gaza.

Gaza-based resistance factions, meanwhile, have continued to fire rockets into Israel – without causing any fatalities thus far – in response to the unrelenting Israeli attacks.

Source: World Bulletin.


Increasing reach – Jordan expanding internet penetration rates

– Amina Murtada
Tuesday, 06 September 2011

Global Arab Network – Significant progress has been made to meet the goals set out for Jordan’s information and communications technology (ICT) in 2011, with internet penetration rates, foreign direct investment (FDI) and revenues all increasing, even as government spending declines. In light of this, expanded plans for the sector for the 2010-16 period should be finalized by the end of this year, Global Arab Network reports according to Oxford Business Group.

The National ICT Strategy (NIS) 2007-11, created by the Information Technology Association – Jordan (Int@j), set three main goals for the end of the year: increase internet penetration from 11% in 2007 to 50% in 2011; expand the ICT workforce from 16,000 to 35,000 people; and see revenues reach $3bn by the end of the period.

Jordan is well on its way to reaching the first goal: the internet penetration rate at the end of 2010 was 38%, according to Int@j’s “ICT and ITES Industry Statistics and Yearbook 2010”, released in June. The number of internet users stood at 2.32m people in 2010, up from 1.74m in 2009, the report showed.

Though mobile penetration – which was 108% in 2010 – has seen rapid growth in recent years, internet uptake has been slower to rise. Lowering the price of services is key to getting more people online, as is encouraging private operators to increase their promotional efforts.

“The price of the service is a main factor in attracting more users; even though there is competition nowadays among the service providers. What is more important at this stage is for the private and public sectors to seriously engage in efforts to promote the service,” Abed Shamlawi, the CEO of Int@j, told local media in June.

The government’s lowering of the internet services sales tax from 16% to 8% has also encouraged the private sector to expand connections to rural areas. “I think we will achieve the 50% target as we are working hard with non-governmental organizations to penetrate rural areas outside Amman,” Khaled Lahham, the secretary-general of the Ministry of ICT, told OBG.

Also critical to boosting internet use is encouraging more people to purchase the devices that will enable them to do so. “Jordan in Figures”, published by the Department of Statistics in May 2011, reports that the portion of the population using computers for personal use reached 55.7% in 2010, up marginally from 55% in 2009. The same report also showed that the percentage of the population using the internet for personal reasons was 27.2% in 2010, up from 26% a year earlier.

The roll-out of mobile broadband services by Orange in 2010 and Zain in 2011, plus the forthcoming launch of 3G services by Umniah later this year, is expected to boost internet penetration rates further.

Total ICT sector revenue has grown from $1.5bn in 2007 to $2.2bn in 2009, short of the $3bn target but significant progress nonetheless. Although overall ICT revenues have increased, IT revenue alone has fallen, from $962m in 2008 to $895m in 2009 and $732m in 2010. This is due to declining government spending in the sector, Shamlawi told Bloomberg in June. Government spending on IT in 2010 was JD25m ($35m), while in the years up to and including 2009 spending averaged JD150m ($211m), Shamlawi said.

This places growth prospects squarely in the hands of the private sector, and indeed, the NIS 2007-11 explicitly states as much. “The private sector itself must be responsible for increasing the size of the industry. The private sector must work on increasing the day-to-day relevance of ICT among Jordanians and among Jordanian businesses.”

Private investors, for their part, are taking note. Cumulative FDI in the IT sector has risen steadily since 2001, reaching $142.5m in 2010. The Jordan Investment Board notes that ICT is the fastest-growing sector of the economy, expanding by 50% per year. The sector was served by a growing IT workforce of some 22,000 people at the end of 2009.

In 2007 the NIS recognized the challenges facing the sector, which include the high cost of personal computers and technology, and government policies that lack either development or coordination. This is where the 2012-16 ICT strategy is expected to continue the work of the NIS 2007-11. Significant progress has been made in the last five years, and continuing on this trajectory should mean internet penetration growth, increasing FDI levels and a growing skilled workforce should all be features of the next several years.

Source: Global Arab Network.

Anonymous Hacks Syrian Defense Website

By Jack Phillips
August 8, 2011

The hacker group Anonymous defaced the Syrian Ministry of Defense website Monday, attacking the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and encouraging Syrian protesters.

Anonymous’ Twitter account gave an initial bulletin regarding the security breach. The Ministry of Defense website was later taken down but screenshots of it were uploaded to image sharing websites.

Syria has escalated its campaign against dissidents over the past week, killing hundreds in several cities. On Sunday in the city of Deir Ezzor, at least 50 civilians were killed by tanks and soldiers while they were attending a funeral.

Anonymous posted its logo in the center of the Ministry’s website and posted a message in Arabic as well as in English.

“To the Syrian people: The world stands with you against the brutal regime of Bashar Al-Assad. Know that time and history are on your side—tyrants use violence because they have nothing else,” said the message.

Before, Anonymous said that it would target the Syrian government in a Twitter posting.

“And the more violent they are, the more fragile they become. We salute your determination to be non-violent in the face of the regime’s brutality, and admire your willingness to pursue justice, not mere revenge. All tyrants will fall, and thanks to your bravery Bashar Al-Assad is next,” said the post.

The hacker organization, which has targeted a number of websites including those belonging to the U.S. government, called on the Syrian army to “rise up against the regime.”

“Anyone who orders you to kill women, children, and the elderly deserves to be tried for treason,” the post added.

The hack comes as a number of organizations and governments stepped up their rhetoric against al-Assad.

The Saudi King on Sunday released a statement to the media saying al-Assad’s use of violence in recent weeks is “not acceptable” and pulled out the ambassador from Damascus. The head of the Arab League, one a steadfast ally of al-Assad, also expressed “growing concern.”

Source: The Epoch Times.