• Monday, Sep 27, 2021
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Facebook employees demand to end censorship of pro-Palestine posts

  • Published at 06:05 pm June 3rd, 2021
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File photo: A Facebook logo is displayed on a smartphone, in this illustration taken on January 6, 2020 Reuters

The employees have also urged the social media giant to hire more Palestinian talent and to clarify its policies around anti-Semitism

About 200 employees in Facebook signed a letter urging the company’s executives to address concerns regarding pro-Palestinian voices being suppressed on the platform by content moderation systems.

The letter which was first reported on the Financial Times urged Facebook’s leadership to introduce new initiatives that ensure pro-Palestinian content is not being suppressed or taken down, as critics claim happened during last month’s conflict in Gaza.

According to Financial Times, the employees have also called on management “to order a third-party audit of enforcement actions around Arab and Muslim content, and to refer a post by Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu describing Palestinian civilians as terrorists to its independent oversight board.”

The letter further urges Facebook executives to set up an internal task force to “investigate and address potential biases” in both its human and automated content moderation systems, Al Jazeera reported citing the Financial Times.

The letter had received at least 174 anonymous signatures, according to the report.

The letter reportedly said:  “As highlighted by employees, the press and members of Congress, and as reflected in our declining app store rating, our users and community at large feel that we are falling short on our promise to protect open expression around the situation in Palestine.” 

“We believe Facebook can and should do more to understand our users and work on rebuilding their trust,” it added.

The employees have also urged the social media giant to hire more Palestinian talent and to clarify its policies around anti-Semitism.

According to reports, Facebook have been labelling words used by Palestinian users, such as “martyr” and “resistance,” as incitements to violence during last month’s Gaza conflict. 

It also took down posts about the Al-Aqsa Mosque after mistakenly associating the holy site with a terrorist organization, Al Jazeera reported citing US media reports.

Social media site Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, is reportedly changing its algorithm to show more viral and current affairs posts following concerns expressed by users that contents about the Gaza conflict were not reaching a wide audience.

“We know there were several issues that impacted people’s ability to share on our apps. While we fixed them, they should never have happened in the first place and we’re sorry to anyone who felt they couldn’t bring attention to important events, or who believed this was a deliberate suppression of their voice,” Facebook said on Tuesday.

“We design our policies to give everyone a voice while keeping them safe on our apps and we apply them equally, regardless of who is posting or what their personal beliefs are,” Facebook added.

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