This page is also available in: עברית (Hebrew)
The Facebook page of the spokesperson for Hamas’s military wing was shut down Saturday, a day after being opened.
The spokesperson for Hamas’s Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, who goes by the nom de guerre Abu Obeida, opened an official Facebook page on Saturday, shortly after Twitter shuttered his account, which counted nearly 200,000 followers, on Friday.
Hamas’s military wing has yet to release any statement regarding the closure of the Facebook page, which may have been carried out by the group itself. There was no immediate reply from Facebook to a request for comment.
The Facebook page had been advertised on Saturday through the terror group’s website, as well as via a new Twitter account of Abu Obeida and Hamas’s channel on Telegram, a secure messaging app.
Abu Obeida’s Twitter account was shut by the micro-blogging platform on Friday, joining dozens of other accounts by Qassam Brigade officials that have been shuttered in recent months.
In a statement addressing the termination of his old Twitter account, Abu Obeida wrote on Facebook Saturday that his group would not cease to operate on social media.
“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,” he wrote.
The terror group uses its social media accounts to publish internal news about the organization, such as when its members die in training accidents, and also to call for and praise attacks against Israeli civilians.
The Qassam Brigades has responded to the closing of its Twitter accounts by immediately opening new accounts under different names, underscoring the problem the social media site faces when monitoring pages belonging to terrorists and terrorist groups.
This, however, is the first time that an account belonging to a Hamas official has possibly been shut down on Facebook, and no subsequent account had been opened by the writing of this article.
Facebook is currently being sued by the Tel-Aviv based Shurat HaDin – Israel Law Center on behalf of some 20,000 Israelis in order to prevent incitement to violence by Palestinian groups over social media.
The lawsuit was filled late in October 2015 at the start of what has become a six-month wave of attacks, in which 29 Israelis and four foreign nationals have been killed. Nearly 200 Palestinians have also been killed, some two-thirds of them while attacking Israelis, and the rest during clashes with troops, according to the Israeli army.
Israeli officials have argued that incitement on social media has been an important factor in inspiring young Palestinian to carry out attacks.
The director of Shurat Hadin, Nitsana Darshan Leitner, told The Times of Israel that the swift closing of Abu Obeida’s Facebook page could be related to the pressure the social media giant is facing from the lawsuit, though she did not know the specifics of Abu Obeida’s case.
Currently, the Shurat Hadin lawsuit is at an important juncture. Facebook has filed a motion to dismiss, and Shurat Hadin will file a brief this week arguing its case. The case could go to trial within a few months, she said.