November 17, 2015
Facebook removed a UK student’s post criticizing the world for not responding to recent terrorist attacks in Lebanon and Africa with the same prayers and support as for Paris. The tech giant republished it, citing human error, after being approached by RT.
University of Sussex student Roua Naboulsi wrote a long Facebook post on Saturday morning in which she described her mixed feelings in the aftermath of the Paris attack.
While Naboulsi, 21, condemned the violence in France, she also lamented the lack of international attention given to the suicide bombing in Beirut the day before.
Her post received 9,000 shares and 12,000 likes before Facebook removed it on Monday for not meeting the company’s Community Standards. Following inquiries by RT, the social media giant republished the post and admitted it had made a mistake.
In her post Naboulsi, who studies English Literature and Media Studies, said she stayed up late following news of the Paris attacks “in disbelief.”
“What happened in Paris last night was awful,” Naboulsi wrote. “The international community has responded, as predicted, by showing their unwavering solidarity with Paris.”
“The night before that, a bomb went off in my country, Lebanon, killing 43 people. No one prayed for us. No one kept us in their thoughts. No world leaders made late-night statements about us. No one changed their profile pictures. There was no hashtag. No option to be ‘marked as safe’ by Facebook. Just silence.”
Naboulsi went on to list the Syrian civil war and occupation of Palestine which she claims have been largely ignored by the West.
“73 Palestinians were killed by Israel in October alone. Silence. Nearly 100 people were killed by explosions at a peace rally in Ankara last month. Just silence. At least 3,500 people have been killed in Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, and Niger in conflict this year. Silence,” she wrote.
She goes on to challenge western readers to question why the world is seemingly cold to the suffering of Middle Eastern and African people.
“But what about us? Don’t we deserve to be mourned? Are we not human enough? Are we too Arab for you? Too black for you? Too Other for you? Do you find it impossible to empathize with us because of the color of our skin? There’s a word for that,” she said.
Despite receiving thousands of likes and shares, the post was suddenly removed by Facebook on Monday afternoon after a user reported it to the site.
When RT contacted Facebook for comment on Tuesday, a spokesperson said it would investigate the incident. Hours later the post was republished.
Facebook told RT it doesn’t comment on individual cases, but said the post was deemed to have breached its Community Standards in error.
The company said its staff check more than one million reported posts each week and occasionally make mistakes.
Speaking to RT, Naboulsi said she was disappointed the post had been removed in the first place.
“I’m quite disappointed that Facebook both removed and republished the post without communicating with me at all.
“More importantly, their community guidelines were pretty straightforward and clear when I read through them so I don’t see how a moderator could have mistakenly concluded that I was in breach of them.
“It seems to me that if I had stayed quiet about this nothing would have happened. Honestly, the whole situation just feels to me like they realized they couldn’t get away with it and so they republished my post. I just can’t know for sure what exactly happened but I’m glad it’s back up of course,” she added.