#StopSilencingPalestine: Meta must overhaul its biased content moderation

Access Now and the #StopSilencingPalestine campaign’s message is clear: it’s time to end Meta’s long history of censoring Palestinian voices and overhaul the content moderation practices and policies that continue to restrict content about Palestine.

Meta’s deliberate role in crushing Palestinian content must be exposed, addressed, and stopped for good. For years, and particularly in times of crisis, the social media company has been suppressing Palestinian voices through opaque and discriminatory content moderation policies and actions while allowing hate speech and disinformation to flourish. We’re saying enough. Marwa Fatafta, MENA Policy and Advocacy Director at Access Now.

Two years after Access Now and a civil society coalition launched the #StopSilencingPalestine campaign in response to online censorship that paralleled Israel’s forced evictions of Palestinian families in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of Jerusalem, advocates are, again, demanding immediate action from Meta.

Now, more than ever, Meta must consider the disproportionate and negative impact of its policies and content moderation practices on Palestinians. The company has a responsibility to take serious action to mitigate contributing to the commission of serious crimes and human rights abuses in the current conflict. Crucial steps must be taken now in light of Meta’s human and automated moderation tools and practices, its policies on violence and incitement and on dangerous organizations and individuals (DOI), along with countless instances of digital repression of Palestinian and Palestine-related content online

The members of the #StopSilencingPalestine campaign have reflected on the demands laid out in 2021, and are asking for urgent action from Meta, which includes: 

  • A formal meeting with Meta executives, including CEO Mark Zuckerberg, as soon as possible and no later than the end of 2023, to discuss Meta’s censorship of Palestinian voices; 
  • Ensuring that Meta’s newsworthiness allowance applies to news content related to the ongoing hostilities;
  • Immediately addressing the over-enforcement of its content moderation policies and eliminate bias in relation to Arabic-language content; and
  • Full transparency on both legal and voluntary requests made to Meta by the Israeli government, its Cyber Unit, and other governmental actors, and referral units. 
People and civil society actors from across the globe must stand up in solidarity with freedom of expression online. The time to act is now — #StopSilencingPalestine. Kassem Mnejja, MENA Campaigner at Access Now

The full series of calls to action to end Meta’s censorship of Palestinians and Palestine are on the #StopSilencingPalestine campaign website.