Posts of PM Anwar meeting Hamas restored on Meta platforms

Meta has restored Facebook posts by media covering Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s meeting this week with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, saying they were removed in error.

The removal had drawn complaints from the government, a vocal supporter of the Palestinian cause which had warned that firm action could be taken against Meta and other social media companies if they were blocking pro-Palestinian content on their platforms.

Anwar met Hamas political bureau chief Ismail Haniyeh in Qatar on Monday. He later stressed that though he had good relations with the group’s political leaders, he had no involvement in its military apparatus.

Malaysia had sent a letter asking Meta to explain the taking down of posts by Malaysiakini and Sinar Harian about the meeting, as well as the closure of a Facebook account last month belonging to Malaysia Gazette, which covers Palestinian issues.

“Two posts were removed in error and have now been restored,” a Meta spokesperson said, Reuters reported.

Communications minister Fahmi Fadzil, who is also the government’s spokesman, condemned the removal of the posts on Wednesday, accusing US organisations of not respecting the freedom of media outlets.

The Malaysia Gazette said on Wednesday that its appeal to Facebook to reactivate the account had been accepted and is now operational again.

Malaysia has long advocated a two-state solution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

Meta has said it does not deliberately suppress voices on its Facebook platform, adding there was “no truth” to the claim it was restricting content supporting the Palestinians.

Meta designates Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist movement that governs Gaza, as a “dangerous organisation” and bans content praising the group. It also uses a mix of automated detection and human review to remove or label graphic visuals.

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