Facebook recently banned the profile of respected journalist and academic Jonathan Spyer for mentioning the threat radical Islam poses to Europe, then later reinstated his account without explanation.
The Middle East analyst and senior research fellow at the Global Research in International Affairs Center had written a brief post mentioning specific keywords such as “Islamist” and “insurgency” that apparently triggered Facebook’s post review mechanisms and caused his account to be banned. Spyer noted the ban on his account in an August 12 post on his blog, which is connected to about 5,000 people and which he uses frequently to conduct research.
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“The Islamist insurgency in Europe continues. Here are some preliminary thoughts from yours truly regarding the inability of mainstream western elites to process what is occurring,” Spyer wrote in the original post provided to The Daily Caller News Foundation, along with a link to a post on his blog.
Several hours later, Facebook notified Spyer that his account had been “disabled” for noting that the recent terror attacks in Germany and France essentially constitute a “low-level Islamist insurgency.”
Spyer quickly shot off an email to Facebook to get an explanation for the decision.
An employee from Facebook named Justin responded with the following statement on July 29: “We have reviewed your account, and have determined that it is contrary to the Declaration of Rights and Responsibilities of Facebook. Due to the violation of these terms, we have permanently deleted your account. One of the main priorities of Facebook is the safety of Facebook users. Credible threats to harm others, support for violent organizations or extreme graphic content are not allowed on Facebook.”
Spyer tells TheDCNF he has never supported any violent organizations whatsoever, except for support for the Israeli military and the Kurds.
“Facebook apparently considers that support for either of these, or expressing the view that a still relatively small-scale Islamist insurgency is taking place in Europe, constitutes a threat to the ‘safety of Facebook users,’” Spyer wrote. “This is, I think, a point of some significance.”
“[T]he process by which the profile was destroyed is interesting and may be informative regarding the practices of Facebook with regard to the issue of freedom of expression on the site,” he added.
Facebook reinstated Spyer’s account Tuesday, apparently out of the blue, but likely because of the attention drawn to Facebook’s decision by Spyer’s blog post.