Facebook Employees Protest Pro-Palestinian Post Restrictions

California, MINA – Nearly 200 Facebook employees have signed a letter urging company executives to address concerns that pro-Palestinian voices on the social media site are being suppressed by content moderation systems.

Quoted from Al Jazeera, the letter, first reported by the Financial Times (FT), urges Facebook’s leadership to introduce new measures ensuring pro-Palestinian content is not removed, as critics claimed during last month’s conflict in Gaza.

Facebook employees also asked management “to order third-party audits of law enforcement actions around Arab and Muslim content, and to refer Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s posts describing Palestinian civilians as terrorists to its independent supervisory board”, the FT reported.

The letter further urges Facebook executives to set up an internal task force to “investigate and address potential bias” in both human and automated content moderation systems.

Posted on the company’s internal message board by a group of employees named “[email protected]” and “[email protected]”, the letter had received at least 174 anonymous signatures as of Tuesday.

“As employees, the press and members of Congress have highlighted, and as reflected in our downgrade of our app store, our users and community at large feel that we are failing to live up to our promise to protect open expression around the situation in Palestine,” the statement read.

“We believe Facebook can and should do more to understand our users and work to rebuild their trust,” the letter continued.

The employees also called on the social media giant to commit to hiring more Palestinian talent and clarifying its policies around anti-Semitism.

During the Gaza conflict last month, Facebook labelled words used by Palestinian users, such as “martyr” and “resistance”, as incitement to violence. They also removed posts about the Al-Aqsa Mosque after mistakenly associating the holy site with a terrorist organization, according to US media reports.

The Financial Times on Sunday reported that the social media site Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, changed its algorithm to show more viral and up-to-date posts following concerns that users posting about the Gaza conflict were not reaching a wide audience.

“We know there are several issues affecting people’s ability to share on our app. While we fixed it, it should never have happened and we apologize to anyone who feels they were unable to draw attention to an important event, or who believes this is a deliberate suppression of their voice,” Facebook said on Tuesday.

“We designed policies to give everyone a voice while keeping them safe on our apps and we enforce them equally, regardless of who posts or what their personal beliefs are,” he added. (T/R7/RE1)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)