Thursday, February 22, 2024

When is "Zionist" hate speech?

Meta is considering expanding and “revisiting” its hate speech policy around the term “Zionist”, the Guardian has confirmed. The company reached out to and met with more than 10 Arab, Muslim and pro-Palestinian organizations on Friday to discuss the company’s plans to review the policy to ensure the term “Zionist” is not being used as a proxy for Jewish or Israeli people, according to an email the Guardian reviewed.

The policy as it exists allows “Zionist” to be used in “political discourse but removed when it’s used explicitly as a proxy for Jews or Israelis in a dehumanizing or violent way”, according to an email a Meta representative sent to the organizations inviting them to the Friday meeting. The email further stated the company was considering reviewing it in light of posts users and “stakeholders” have recently reported, the Meta representative wrote. The Intercept first reported the potential change in policy.

In an email to another organization, the Meta representative said the company’s current policies don’t allow users to attack others based on their protected characteristics such as nationality or religion and that the policy “requires a current understanding of how people use language to reference those characteristics”.

“While the term ‘Zionist’ often refers to a person’s ideology, which is not a protected characteristic, it can also be used to refer to Jewish or Israeli people,” the email read. “Given the increase in polarized public discourse due to current events in the Middle East, we believe it’s important to assess our guidance for reviewing posts that use the term ‘Zionist.’”

Organizations involved in discussions, which include MPower Change, 7amleh and Jewish Voice for Peace, expressed deep concern in the meeting about whether this change would further censor pro-Palestinian voices. Several reports commissioned by 7amleh and Human Rights Watch as well as one commissioned by Meta confirmed that Palestinian accounts have long been systematically silenced and stifled on Meta-owned platforms.

However, Meta asserts that an independent consultancy it works with, BSR, “did raise important concerns around under-enforcement of content ... and specific instances where they considered our policies and processes had an unintentional impact on Palestinian and Arab communities”.





Anonymous said...

Meta asking the Palestinians about the use of Zionist is like asking the K.K.K. about the use of the N word.

Bird of Paradise said...

Some people just need to quit depending upon Big Brother