Accounts of 17 Gaza Journalists Banned on WhatsApp

A number of Palestinian journalists in the Gaza Strip discovered that they were prevented from accessing the WhatsApp messaging application, hours after the recent ceasefire with Israel entered into force in Gaza.

The Associated Press contacted 17 journalists in Gaza who confirmed that their accounts on the app had been banned since Friday, and by Monday noon, only four journalists had confirmed their accounts had been restored.

The incident highlights the latest confusing step taken by the "Facebook" company, the owner of WhatsApp, which left Palestinian users or their allies confused as to why the company targeted them, or why it was imposed on them in the first place.

Twelve of the 17 journalists contacted by the Associated Press said they were part of a WhatsApp group publishing information related to Hamas’s military operations.

It was not clear if the journalists were targeted for receiving notices from the group on WhatsApp.

A WhatsApp spokesperson stated that the company bans the accounts in accordance with its policies to prevent abuse and in accordance with applicable law.

It also stated that it had been in contact with the media during the past week to clarify its practices, indicating that it would re-allow journalists' accounts if any of them were affected by this.

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