A Journalist Had His Facebook Account Blocked After Posting About Political Corruption

Matthew Caruana Galizia is nothing if not an accomplished journalist and investigator. His previous accomplishments include helping to blow the lid off of the World Bank's attempt to evict poor Tanzanian residents from their land so it could be cultivated, and the revealing of the infamous 'Panama Papers', which placed a number of political and public figures in hot water over tax dodging and embezzlement.

More recently, he seems to have been looking into allegations of corruption in the Maltese government, paying particular attention to their current prime minister - Joseph Muscat. Earlier this month, Galizia published a series of posts on Facebook laying out the evidence for said corruption, and a few days after that, he suddenly found that he'd been locked out of his Facebook account.

Galizia posted the story on Facebook in the hopes of giving it a wider reach, as he hadn't seen anything about it reported in major papers. Not long after the posts were published, Muscat actually threatened to sue Galizia for libel, but there's nothing to suggest that he or the Maltese government had anything to do with his account being hacked. Regardless of why it happened, though, it's certainly unsettling.

The posts were never taken down, as such, and they've actually drummed up a huge audience response in the time that they've been up, but Galizia is still locked out of his account at time of writing. Facebook are characterising it as a mistake, which they're looking into. In the mean time, they've granted Galizia the means to carry on posting content until the issue is resolved.

Facebook have been fielding a lot of criticism for the way they handle content moderation, especially in the wake of The Guardian posting a list of some of their policies, and this probably won't help. The fact that Galizia's account was blocked shortly following these posts could be an unfortunate coincidence, or it could be the result of mass reporting on his account. It's hard to say at this stage, but it's another striking example of the holes in Facebook's security system.

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