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Palestinian news platform QNN banned by TikTok

Quds News Network slammed the move by the social media giant as politically motivated
Popular social media app Tik Tok removed Quds News Network without warning (AFP)

A popular Palestinian news platform said that it was removed from popular social media app TikTok without any notice, in a move it claimed to be connected to news content it published. 

Quds News Network's (QNN) website and social media accounts frequently publish videos on Palestinian news that quickly go viral, including 1,200 videos on TikTok, before it was banned. 

QNN's director Ahmad Jarrar accused TikTok of being in "partnership with the occupation".

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"On the first day of 2021, TikTok deletes the Quds network account because of our criticism of Arab normalisation," he tweeted. 

In a statement, account manager Hamzah al-Shobaki said they had been posting frequently about the Israeli occupation and recent normalisation deals between Israel and Arab countries, which have angered Palestinians. 

The platform has faced problems on other social media websites before, claiming its coverage has caused it to be targeted by Israel. 

"For years, American apps, including Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp, have been deleting and deactivating the accounts of Palestinians in coordination with the Israeli government and security agencies, on the pretext of preventing Palestinian 'incitement and hate speech'" on the platforms, QNN said. 

In 2019, three of its accounts were removed by Twitter after the Palestinian Authority put it on a list of 6o platforms to be banned, on the grounds that they were threats to "national security and peace".

Shortly before that, Jarrar told Middle East Eye that the organisation's staff members were frequently harassed by Israeli and PA security forces, including being prevented from covering protests as well as facing regular security checks.

A recent report by Palestinian group Sada Social said Palestinian and Arab pages on Facebook have suffered a 50 percent drop in user-reach, which they called an "intentional decrease" due to their critical content. 

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