Thursday 11 July 2024 - 01:48

Meta Defends Zionism Amid Global Outcry Over “Israeli” Genocide in Gaza

Story Code : 1147024
Meta Defends Zionism Amid Global Outcry Over “Israeli” Genocide in Gaza
In a blog post, the company alleged it would take down content attacking "Zionists" if it does not explicitly pertain to the political ideology and includes "antisemitic" stereotypes or threats of harm toward Jews or “Israelis” through intimidation or violence.

Meta's hate speech policy prohibits direct attacks on individuals based on what it defines as protected characteristics, including race, ethnicity, religious affiliation, disability, and gender identity, among others. The social media giant acknowledged that its current policies regarding the term "Zionist" have been insufficient in addressing its broader uses beyond specific contexts where it refers to Jews or “Israelis”.

The company's updated policy comes after consultations with 145 stakeholders from civil society and academia globally. Criticism of Meta's content moderation in relation to West Asia has intensified, particularly amid the ongoing allegations of “Israeli” genocide against Palestinians in Gaza. Human rights groups have accused Meta of censoring pro-Palestinian content on Facebook and Instagram, heightening longstanding concerns about its approach to sensitive geopolitical issues.

In December 2023, Human Rights Watch [HRW] released a report titled "Meta's Broken Promises: Systemic Censorship of Palestine Content on Instagram and Facebook." The report revealed how moderation rules and algorithms have systematically stifled voices supporting Palestine on both platforms. It highlighted instances where protected speech, including nonviolent expressions and public discussions on Palestinian human rights, was suppressed.

According to HRW, an overreliance on automated technologies to monitor material and disproportionate government control over content deletions contribute to censorship. Deborah Brown, acting associate technology and human rights director at HRW, said the censorship added "insult to injury at a time of unspeakable atrocities and repression already stifling Palestinians’ expression."

Brown emphasized that social media is a critical tool for witnessing abuse and speaking out against it, and that censorship only furthers the suffering of Palestinians. A previous HRW report in 2021 indicated Meta was “silencing many people arbitrarily and without explanation" regarding discussions about Palestine and "Israel."