In October 2015 the BBC News website published an article titled “Is Palestinian-Israeli violence being driven by social media?”. The question posed in that headline was addressed in fewer than 200 words which did little to inform readers of the scale and significance of the role of incitement spread via social media in fuelling the wave of terror at the time, of the kind of content appearing on such platforms or of the use of social media by official Palestinian groups other than Hamas – including Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party.
In July 2016 the BBC published two articles relating to the topic of Palestinian incitement of terrorism against Israelis on Facebook: “Israel angered by Facebook hatred rules“ and “Facebook sued by Israeli group over Palestinian attacks“.
In October 2016, listeners to a radio programme broadcast on the BBC World Service relating to the Twitter hashtag ‘Facebook Censors Palestine’ were told:
“And this is really the problem: narrative. With two completely opposing views on events, what Israelis see as inciting violence, the Palestinians see as telling the truth and vice versa.”
Earlier this month the BBC News website published a report in which Yolande Knell told readers that:
“The PA denies Israeli accusations that it incites militant attacks.”
Several days after the appearance of Knell’s article, Palestinian Media Watch published a report titled “Fatah’s official Facebook page in 2018 A platform for glorifying murder and promoting terror”.
“This Palestinian Media Watch report demonstrates that the Fatah Movement used its official Facebook page throughout 2018 to glorify terror and terrorists, and to support continued Palestinian terror against Israelis. As its fundamental policy, Fatah glorified terrorists from all periods of its history including mass murderers and suicide bombers. Significantly, immediately following terror attacks, Fatah used Facebook to praise the contemporary terror and glorify new terrorists throughout the year. Although Fatah’s use of Facebook for these purposes is in direct violation of Facebook’s guidelines set out in its Community Standards, Facebook has not deleted these terror glorifying and terror promoting posts, and has not closed down Fatah’s Facebook account.”
While Yolande Knell was not wrong when she wrote that “[t]he PA denies Israeli accusations that it incites militant attacks” (as does Fatah) neither she nor her colleagues have made any effort to inform BBC audiences of the type of material regularly posted on Fatah’s official Facebook page and thereby enable them to judge for themselves whether, despite those denials, the Fatah dominated PA does or does not incite terrorism against Israelis.