The first Hamas leader to pounce on social media after the attack was Izzat al-Risheq, a member of the group's political bureau, who resides in Qatar and is a close associate of its chief, Khaled Mashal.
Al-Risheq rapidly turned to Facebook and Twitter following the attack, where he wrote that "the act of sacrifice against the Zionist in Tel Aviv is a heroic and ambitious action. It is a natural reponse to the crimes of the occupation and its terrorizing of our people."
Hamas's spokesman in Gaza, Fawzi Barhoun, joined Al-Risheq in applauding the attack. He posted a picture of the knife at the scene on Facebook and wrote: "Good morning, resistance and homeland."
Facebook deleted his post days later, Al-Risheq reported. He expressed his anger in a Twitter post on Friday.
"Facebook management erased this post from my account. Freedom of speech and thought is given only to those who insult the prophet and Muslims," he wrote. He uploaded a screenshot showing a message from the website explaining his post was removed "because it doesn’t follow the Facebook Community Standards".
However, posts uploaded by other Hamas spokespeople, such as Fawzi Barhoum,who posted a picture of the terrorist and commended him, or Sami Abu Zuhri, who wrote that the attack was a natural reaction, remained untouched.
Hamas spokespeople were extremely active on social network sites -- particularly Facebook and Twitter -- during Operation Protective Edge, using the platforms to spread their views.
Facebook responded by shutting down the accounts belonging to some of the organization's main figures, including Izzat al-Risheq, Moussa Abu Marzouk, Sami Abu Zuhri, and Mushir al-Masri. But these leaders responded by opening new accounts. "
Al-Risheq said at the time that Facebook had shown it was incapable of containing all viewpoints.