On the morning of 7 November 2012, the five admins of The Uprising of Women in the Arab World Facebook Page logged onto Facebook to find out that one’s account had been blocked for thirty days, another for three days, two others for twenty-four hours, and one other received a warning notification.
According to Facebook, those persons had violated its policy by sharing a post asking Twitter followers to support Dana Bakdounes. The message that was sent to the admins explaining the reasoning for the ban from Facebook read as follows: “You have posted a content that violates Facebook Community Rules, the post says: Follow us on Twitter @UprisingOFWomen. Support Dana with hashtag #WindToDana
Dana Bakdounes is one of the hundreds of women and men who participated in the Uprising of Women in the Arab World campaign, holding a sign expressing the reason why they support this uprising. Dana’s slogan stated: “I am with the uprising of women in the Arab world because for twenty years I was not allowed to feel the wind in my hair and on my body.” Her picture showed an unveiled woman carrying her passport with a picture of when she was veiled.
Dana’s picture was initially posted on 21 October 2012, among many other photos and statements of women and men of various religious beliefs and practices (some women were veiled, some unveiled, some in niqab), and all were demanding women’s rights and equal enjoyment of freedom of speech, in a secular space that promotes tolerance and embraces differences. But on 25 October, Facebook chose to censor Dana’s image and to suspend the account of the admin who posted it for twenty-four hours. This incident provoked an outrage among the defenders of freedom of speech who started sharing Dana’s picture all over Facebook, Twitter, and other media outlets.
On 28 October persuaded that Facebook had mistakenly taken down the photo due to abusive reports of haters of the Page, that the photo held no offensive content, as well as seeing that it was all over the web, we uploaded it again. A few hours later, Facebook removed it again and blocked another admin’s account for seven days.