Facebook's Secret Rules About the Word "Zionist" Impede Criticism of Israel
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of The Intercept
Posted: June 21st, 2021
Facebook’s secret internal rules for moderating the term “Zionist” let the social network [to] suppress criticism of Israel amid an ongoing wave of Israeli abuses and violence, according to people who reviewed the policies. The rules appear to have been in place since 2019, seeming to contradict a claim by the company in March that no decision had been made on whether to treat the term “Zionist” as a proxy for “Jew” when determining whether it was deployed as “hate speech.” The policies ... govern the use of “Zionist” in posts not only on Facebook but across its subsidiary apps, including Instagram. Both Facebook and Instagram are facing allegations of censorship following the erratic, widespread removal of recent posts from pro-Palestinian users critical of the Israeli government, including those who documented instances of Israeli state violence. Mass violence has gripped Israel and Gaza since last week. Israeli security forces stormed the Al Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem’s old city. The Palestinian militant group Hamas responded with rocket fire aimed at Israel. Israel, in turn, unleashed massive aerial bombardments and artillery attacks against the occupied Palestinian Gaza Strip. Though none of Facebook and Instagram’s content removal has been tied conclusively to the term “Zionist,” users and pro-Palestinian advocates were alarmed by disappearing posts and notices of policy violations over the last week.
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