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Social media giants under scrutiny after blocking journalists reporting on death threats

SOCIAL MEDIA giants Twitter and Facebook have come under scrutiny once more for blocking the accounts of journalists and others raising complaints of threats to kill and rape them and their relatives. 

Journalist Fiorella Isabel had her Twitter account restricted after she raised concerns over an apparent incitement for Ukraine’s special operations forces to kill Canadian journalist Eva Bartlett earlier this week. 

Her tweet highlighting a comment by former Tory MP Louise Mensch was taken down, while the offending remark remained despite countless complaints from Twitter users. 

Twitter has responded by saying Ms Mensch’s tweet did not breach its terms and conditions, although when contacted by the Morning Star it did not explain how the decision was reached and had not commented at the time of publishing.

Ms Isabel said that Twitter denied her appeal, saying: “My tweet exposing Louise Mensch was ‘gratuitous gore’,” accusing the platform of protecting “fascists targeting journalists.”

Similarly Patrick Lancaster, who has also been reporting from Ukraine’s eastern Donbass region, had his Facebook account blocked on Tuesday after he complained about messages threatening to kill him and rape and execute his wife. 

Other journalists reporting on Ukraine, including Garland Nixon, have faced restrictions leading to accusations of censorship and political bias. 

Earlier this year, Facebook and Instagram came under fire after relaxing their rules to allow users to call for the death of Russians and Russian soldiers. 

They also allowed posts calling for Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko to be killed, although they said that inciting violence against civilians was prohibited. 

Social media links to intelligence services are well-documented, with a senior Twitter executive with editorial responsibility for the Middle East also being a part-time officer in the British army’s psychological warfare unit, the 77th Brigade. 

Last month MintPress News reported that Facebook had employed a host of former CIA agents to moderate content.

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