Meta Removes & Then Restores 3 News Posts Of Anwar Meeting Hamas Leaders

Malaysiakini, Malaysia Gazette, and Sinar Harian recently had their posts removed by the US-based tech giant.

Cover image via New Straits Times & Anwar Ibrahim (Facebook)

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Three Malaysian media companies had their news postings on Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim meeting Hamas leaders removed from Meta

According to Communications Minister Fahmi Fadzil, the three companies affected are Malaysiakini, Malaysia Gazette, and Sinar Harian. 

The media companies were covering Anwar's official visit to Qatar on 14 May when their news postings were removed from Meta's platforms. 

Anwar, who met with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh and former Hamas chairman Khaled Mashal during his work visit, expressed condolences to Haniyeh for his family members who were killed by an Israeli air strike last month.

Fahmi criticised Meta for violating the right to media freedom and has instructed the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to investigate the matter

According to Fahmi, Meta cited the reason for removing the three posts as they were deemed dangerous.

"The reason provided was because the posts shared symbols of associations defined as dangerous. However, when we examined the posts, we found none of the aspects alleged by Meta," Fahmi explained, according to New Straits Times.

"God willing, we will meet all these social media platform representatives in June, and I will raise the matter for an explanation so that reports about the official activities (of Anwar) will not be treated in such a manner."

According to Fahmi, this is not the first time social media platforms have removed Anwar's posts related to the genocide in Gaza

In expressing his disappointment that censorship is practised by a US-based organisation, Fahmi said that social media platforms had previously removed Anwar's speech on Palestine as well.

"However, the posts were re-uploaded after we sought clarification (from Meta). Hence, I will follow up (with them)."

Fahmi expressed disappointment that Meta did not respect the rights to media freedom to utilise their platform.

However, Meta has since restored the affected posts, claiming that they were removed because of an error

In an email to Reuters, a Meta spokesperson revealed that the deletion of the posts was unintentional.

"Two posts were removed in error and have now been restored," the spokesperson said.  

Meta uses automated detection and humans to review, remove, and label content posted by its users. 

While Meta designates Hamas as a "dangerous organisation" and bans content related to the group, it claims that it doesn't deliberately aim to suppress voices. 

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