Facebook Asked by Al Jazeera to End Accounts Tied to UAE 

The Al Jazeera Media Network is asking Facebook Inc to remove accounts it says are part of a foreign-influence campaign run by by the United Arab Emirates. The accounts on Facebook and Instagram, using the handle “QatariLeaks,” frequently attack Qatar-based Al Jazeera and its journalists.

Twitter Inc. earlier this year suspended @QatariLeaks, identifying it as a state-backed information operation run by the UAE and Egypt. QatariLeaks’ website, its Facebook and Instagram accounts remained active after Twitter’s suspension.

“This case is clear cut and demands immediate attention and action,” Mohammed Osman Abu Baker, manager of Al Jazeera’s legal affairs department, said in a letter to Facebook dated Tuesday.

Al Jazeera is part of a power struggle between a Saudi Arabia-UAE-led coalition and Qatar, which the countries accuse of meddling in their affairs. The media company, which is based in Doha, says it is editorially independent from the government, but the countries say it’s used by Qatar to project power.

The QatariLeaks Twitter account, highlighted in a Bloomberg News story, frequently attacked Al Jazeera and its journalists and accused the network of effectively being a propaganda arm of Qatar.

Al Jazeera previously reported the QatariLeaks accounts to Facebook and Instagram but was unsuccessful in removing them, Abu Baker said in the letter. Facebook did not respond to the request, while Instagram responded that the account “doesn’t go against our Community Guidelines,” the letter said.

The letter said YouTube had also suspended an account associated with QatariLeaks.

QatariLeaks did not respond to a message left through its website. Spokesmen for Facebook and the United Arab Emirates embassy in Washington, D.C. did not immediately respond to requests for comment.