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April 18, 2016

Twitter Tries to ‘Mute’ Hamas

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Twitter, the social network, closed an account linked to Hamas, the U.S.-designated Palestinian terrorist group that rules the Gaza Strip, on April 15, 2016.

The Times of Israel reported that Twitter “took unprecedented steps to remove the Palestinian group’s influence on its medium (“Twitter shuts account of Hamas spokesman,” April 16, 2016).”

In March 2016, Twitter closed the official accounts of Hamas’ Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades that were operating in Arabic, Hebrew and English. At the time, the Twitter account of Abu Obeida, Hamas’ spokesman, was left untouched. That same day, Obeida used his Twitter account to direct the 196,000 Twitter followers of the al-Qassamite brigades to a new page created for the group.

Although the company closed Obeida’s account on April 15, the Times of Israel noted that the Hamas spokesman opened a new account on April 16. The same day, Abu Obeida also created an official account on another social network, Facebook.

Using what was perhaps a veiled threat, Obieda decried Twitter for shutting down his account, saying, “Twitter yielded to the pressure of the enemy, which gives us an impression that it is not neutral in regards to the Palestinian cause and it caves into political pressure.”

As CAMERA has noted, Hamas’ charter includes a call for the destruction of Israel and genocide of the Jews (“The Facts About Hamas,” April 24, 2014). Essayist Paul Berman pointed out in his 2010 book The Flight of the Intellectuals (Melville House Publishing), Hamas’ charter and ideology borrow extensively from Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Party.

As Politico reported, Twitter has faced criticism from U.S. government officials and non-governmental organizations for not addressing “online extremism.”

In February 2016, Twitter announced that since June 2015 it had suspended more than 125,000 accounts for “threatening or promoting terrorist attacks primarily related to ISIS (“Twitter says it’s acting against terror groups,” Politico, Feb. 5, 2016).”

During the 2014 Israel-Hamas war, Twitter shut all accounts associated with Hamas’ armed operations. However, the al-Qassam brigades opened new accounts “almost immediately.”

Speaking of the latest shutdown, Abu Obeida vowed, “We are going to send our message in a lot of innovative ways, and we will insist on every available means of social media to get to the hearts and minds of millions.”

For the moment, it seems that Hamas can once again Tweet its “message” of terrorism and genocide.


Posted by SD at April 18, 2016 11:42 AM

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