A Palestinian protester runs holding a tear gas canister in Gaza during clashes with Israeli forces near the border with Israel. AFP PHOTO / MOHAMMED ABED
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Many Palestinians say such sites only hold up a mirror, or camera, to incessant Israeli violence and pent-up Palestinian fury – that social media reflects reality, not creates it.The same accusation has been leveled at Netanyahu for speeches linking Abbas to ISIS and suggesting a World War II-era Palestinian leader was the one who persuaded Hitler to exterminate European Jews.Israeli officials say they convinced Google's YouTube service and Facebook to remove some Palestinian videos, and an Israeli legal group is preparing a lawsuit against Facebook to force the site to remove certain pro-Palestinian pages. Facebook in the past has removed some Palestinian news sites, but they simply popped up again under a different guise. Over time, they have become essential sources of news for Palestinians.The Quds News Network, which operates one of the most prominent Palestinian Facebook news sites, has about 3.7 million Facebook followers and says it relies on a network of some 300 stringers throughout Israel, the occupied West Bank and Gaza. Another active Facebook site, run by the Shehab News Network, has about 4.2 million followers and is regarded by Palestinians as being linked with Hamas.One popular Israeli Facebook news site, 0404, has a following of about 370,000 and provides a constant feed of news and images, including photos of dead Palestinians after being shot by Israeli forces, though it blurs graphic images.Some 1.5 million Palestinians use Facebook.
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