WhatsApp Allegedly Blocks Gaza Journalist Accounts

WhatsApp has blocked the accounts of at least 17 Gaza-based journalists after the latest cease-fire took effect to allegedly “prevent harm” and compliance with the law. 

Al Jazeera’s chief Gaza correspondent Wael al-Dahdouh and reporter Hisham Zaqqout reported that their accounts along with other colleagues were blocked. 

The Associated Press said that at least 17 journalists in Gaza have been blocked since Friday and that only 4, all Al-Jazeera journalists, regained access by Monday. 

A WhatsApp spokesperson said that bans are only implemented to comply with its policies “to prevent harm as well as applicable law.” 

WhatsApp has not disclosed why they blocked the accounts of the journalists but most of those that were blocked reportedly belonged Hamas messaging groups. 

Hamas is considered a terror group by both Israel and the US  while WhatsApp is a US-based group. 

WhatsApp declined to comment on the account blocks but said it will “reinstate journalists if any were impacted.”

A similar incident happened in 2019 while WhatsApp’s parent company Facebook and its photo- and video-sharing platform Instagram were accused of scrubbing posts and deleting accounts of users posting about forced evictions in Sheikh Jarrah.

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