Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Monday that the removal of Pakistani actor & director Hamza Ali Abbasi’s status and subsequent blocking of his profile was a “mistake.” Hamza Ali Abbasi had condemned the Charlie Hebdo attack and emphasized on the freedom of expression. Mark Zuckerberg asked Justin Osofsky, VP of Global Operations and Media Partnerships, to look into the matter.
Removed in error
In an emailed statement to ValueWalk, Sally Aldous, Facebook’s Policy Communications manager for Europe, Middle East And Africa (EMEA) said, “the post was removed in error.” Justin Osofsky posted on Hamza’s profile (after it was restored) that the company made a mistake. He also apologized for the error, urging the Pakistani actor to re-post his status as Facebook was “not able to restore it from our end.”
On Sunday, Pakistani actor and director said that Facebook authorities deactivated his profile and deleted his post in which he had condemned the Paris attack. Abbasi later posted a screenshot of his deleted status along with the social networking giant’s notification that his post was removed because it violated Facebook’s community standards.
On his verified Facebook account, Hamza Ali Abbasi said, “…freedom of expression should include criticism, disagreement or even rejection of faiths or ideology but should not and must not allow insult.” He urged the West to revisit and fix the definition of “freedom of speech.” After Facebook restored his account, Abbasi said in an interview with Dawn News that he was glad Mark Zuckerberg had accepted his organization’s mistake.
Facebook draws ire of Internet rights activists
Meanwhile, Pakistani Internet rights activists also slammed Facebook’s “double standards.” Sana Saleem of Bolo Bhi said that it was beyond ridiculous. Saleem said the social networking giant was guilty of hypocrisy. Bolo Bhi expressed concerns over Facebook’s policies because the company now owns WhatsApp and Instagram.
Just a few days ago, Mark Zuckerberg had stressed on the company’s commitment to freedom of speech, while recounting that an extremist from Pakistan had demanded death sentence for him when Facebook refused to ban content about Prophet Muhammad.