Charlie Hebdo’s Facebook page has been swamped with 13,000 messages, many of them threats and insults, since the publication of this week’s issue retitled Charia Hebdo and featuring a cartoon of Mohammed on its front cover.
But its moderator cannot remove them, the blog says, “under the pretext - surprise! surprise! – that Charlie Hebdo is not a ‘real’ person” and because it breaches a ban on “publications featuring nudity or other sexually suggestive content”, says the satirical paper’s blog, launched on Thursday to show that it is “reborn from the ashes”.
Facebook rules do include that ban as well as one on “hate speech, credible threats, or direct attacks on an individual or group", which critics who accuse the paper of Islamophobia may argue justifies the move.
The left-leaning daily Libération reprinted the controversial issue of Charlie Hebdo as a supplement on Thursday as a gesture of support for press freedom.
The satirical paper’s editorial team are not ruling out the possibility that their site’s hackers are provocateurs from the French far right, rather than Muslim fundamentalists, especially since some of the messages in Arabic are cut-and-pasted non-religious texts, for example instructions for washing machines or weather forecasts.
However, a Turkish Muslim group, Akincilar, claimed responsibility for the hacking and jihadist forums were reported to be ecstatic about an “attack that demonstrates the dedication of Muslims to their faith”, as one put it.
Charlie Hebdo’s publisher, known as Charb, cartoonist Luz and editor Riss are all under police protection after the attack, exciting some sarcastic comments on news sites due to the paper’s often derisive references to the police.
French police are looking for two men reportedly spotted throwing a Molotov cocktail at the paper’s offices on Tuesday night.