'Facebook banned an advert paid for by The Electronic Intifada a day after it was approved and was running successfully.
The ban lasted for almost three days before the ad was restored without explanation.
This apparent act of censorship comes as Facebook is deepening its collaboration with Israel lobby groups and a pro-war Washington think tank to impose tighter controls on what people are allowed to see online, especially about Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights.
The ad promoted a post linking to an article by Max Blumenthal headlined “’Killing Gaza’ captures culture of resistance”
Killing Gaza is the name of the documentary newly released online that was filmed by Blumenthal and Dan Cohen during and after Israel’s devastating 2014 assault on the territory.
The promoted post, which can be seen above, is a straightforward boost for the article.
Along with the headline, the ad text states: “ ‘Killing Gaza,’ a film by Max Blumenthal and Dan Cohen, documents the trauma and defiance of those who survived Israel’s sadistic 2014 assault. It’s now available online.”
The photo accompanying the ad – not in any way graphic – is a still from the film.
The Electronic Intifada promoted the post on 17 May, and Facebook approved it in about an hour. It then ran for over a day and in that time the post was seen more than 53,000 times, mostly due to the paid promotion.
It was shared dozens of times and about 1,000 people clicked on the article.
The promotion was successful: in advertising jargon it was producing a very high click-through-rate of almost two percent – about double the average for Facebook ads.
But on 18 May, The Electronic Intifada received an email from Facebook with the subject line, “Your active ad is disapproved.”
“We have reviewed your ad more closely and have determined it doesn’t comply with our advertising policies,” the email stated. “This ad will not be active any longer until you edit it to comply with policy. You can click the ad name below to see why it wasn’t approved and make edits.”
However, Facebook did not identify any problem specific to the ad. Nor did the ad appear to violate a list of criteria for “low quality or disruptive content” provided by Facebook.'
Read more: Why did Facebook ban The Electronic Intifada’s ad for 'Killing Gaza'?