On Friday, seventy-five million followers combatting anti-Semitism celebrated because Facebook has restored the page of the Jerusalem Prayer Team, the largest pro-Israel social network site in the world, three months after being shut down after a controversy related to over two million anti-Semitic posts that appeared on the page in a 72-hour period during the Gaza War.
“Our goal is to build Israel’s brand and to make friends of Zion by fundamentally educating Millennials and combatting anti-Semitism,” Dr. Mike Evans said at the Jerusalem World News.
Evans was in Israel preparing to host a global Facebook event on May 19 to mobilize support for the State of Israel during the Gaza War when he was informed the page was shut down. Christian broadcasters, politicians, faith leaders, and celebrities, such as President of the Billy Graham Association Rev. Franklin Graham, President of the CBN Network Gordon Robertson, former U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, Governor Mike Huckabee, Pastor Robert Jeffress, Jon Voight, Pat Boone, Pastor Jack Graham, and a host of others were scheduled to take part in the event.
On May 12-14, more than two million anti-Semitic comments were posted to the Jerusalem Prayer Team page. Facebook shut down the page and notified the Jerusalem Prayer Team on May 15.
Leaders throughout the world came to the support of the Jerusalem Prayer Team and Mike Evans during the crisis. People such as Fox News host Sean Hannity, Senator Ted Cruz, former presidential candidate and Governor Mike Huckabee, and former Prime Minister of Israel Ehud Olmert.
Olmert said, “I’m absolutely appalled by the decision of Facebook to cut you off from the network. I have full competence in the dedication, devotion, principle, and support that you have manifested to the State of Israel. And I think the basic principles and value of freedom of speech must allow you the opportunity to share your opinion and support and attitudes towards the State of Israel with all the tens of millions of followers that are dedicated to you.”
Evans believes the Facebook page closure appears to have been part of a larger misinformation attack against Facebook that took place during the Gaza War. NBC News reported in May that pro-Palestinian activists are running a coordinated campaign to downgrade Facebook’s app review ratings to protest the company’s alleged censorship of Palestinian accounts and posts.
The targeted cyberattack changed the average star rating for the social network down from over 4 out of 5 to 2.3 out of 5 on Apple’s App Store and 2.4 out of 5 on the Google Play store Saturday evening after receiving thousands of one-star reviews. Many of the reviews included comments mentioning Facebook’s alleged silencing of Palestinian voices and hashtags such as #FreePalestine or #GazaUnderAttack, according to the report.
The Daily Pakistan website reported on May 22 that the Facebook application has a rating of 2.5 on the Google Play Store and 2.4 on the Apple App Store. It has dropped from over 4. People rate these applications on the basis of their services.
Many of the users posted complaints on app stores about how Facebook wiped out their “right to express themselves.”
The rating of social applications is likely to drop even further over the coming days as many hashtags are currently trending, condemning these apps for censoring Palestinian posts and allowing provocative Israeli content.
Amid all the censorship, Facebook is alleged to have partnered with the Jewish state to censor Palestinians by creating a page titled “Jerusalem Prayer Team,” according to the report. Reports in the international media suggested Facebook liked the page “Jerusalem Prayer Team” on behalf of a large number of users without their consent.
Evans also said he believes what the Jordanian News reported on May 16 in an interview with Ahmed Saleh in an article entitled “Jordanian hacks Facebook Zionist support group.”
“Ahmad Saleh, on Saturday hacked ‘Jerusalem Prayer Team,’ a Zionist support group on Facebook, which had allegedly garnered almost 76 million likes.
“I received word that Facebook had created a page in support of Zionists and had (falsely) given 76 million likes to the page. You may have not even viewed the page but could still find that you or a friend had liked it,” Saleh said.
“I hacked the page because it did not reflect the (real) image of Zionism, and to stand under His Majesty’s firm stance on Al-Aqsa Mosque, Muslim holy sites in Palestine, and Hashemite Custodianship. The page was created to glamorize the public image of Zionism and mask its crimes,” Saleh explained.
Saleh noted that the page had later been shut down due to its official support to the Zionist entity and for breaching the privacy of Facebook users by adding their likes to the page without notifying them.
Saleh added that the social media platform used external applications, which had been granted access to user accounts and managed to like the page on their behalf.
Al Jazeera wrote that the Facebook page Jerusalem Prayer Team gets automatic fake likes and followers.
This incident came in view after many users of Facebook claimed that their accounts automatically liked the page, and they never even visited the page. Many social media users claim that Facebook is behind it, and it’s helping the page to get likes from users without their permission. And also that instantly gets more sensational after Israel and Palestinians clash and some claim that Facebook is doing it to support Israel.
Evans said, “Though Facebook claimed it closed the page due to inauthentic behavior and spam, I believe what the Pakistan Daily quoted is in fact what fueled all this. I am thankful the page is back up.”
Dr. Mike Evans has dedicated his life to combating anti-Semitism. The Jerusalem Prayer Team founded the Friends of Zion Heritage Center in Jerusalem, in which the late ninth president of the State of Israel, Shimon Peres, served as the founding chairman.
The Friends of Zion award had been given to more than 20 world leaders, including two U.S. presidents, George W. Bush and Donald J. Trump.
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