Facebook violated Palestinians’ right to freedom of expression, report commissioned by Meta says

Meta is finally The findings of an external report examined how its content censorship policies affected Israelis and Palestinians amid escalating violence in the Gaza Strip last May. The from Business for Social Responsibility (BSR), found that Facebook and Instagram violated Palestinians’ right to freedom of expression.

“Based on the data reviewed, examination of individual cases and related literature, and involvement of external stakeholders, Meta’s actions in May 2021 appear to have had an impact. human rights disadvantages to Palestinian users’ rights to freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and politics. participation and non-discrimination, and thus the ability of Palestinians to share information and insights about their experiences as they happen,” the BSR wrote in its report.

The report also notes that “an examination of individual cases” found that some Israeli accounts were also erroneously banned or restricted during this time. But the report’s authors highlight a number of systemic issues that they say have disproportionately affected Palestinians.

According to the report, “Arabic content has a greater degree of over-enforcement” and “proactive detection of potentially infringing Arabic content is significantly higher than that of proactive detection.” potentially infringing Hebrew content”. The report also notes that Meta has an internal tool to detect “hate speech” in Arabic, but not Hebrew, and that Meta’s systems and moderators are accurate. lower when rating Palestinian Arabic.

As a result, many users’ accounts were hit with “false strikes” and posts were mistakenly deleted by Facebook and Instagram. “These strikes still apply to users who did not complain about the removal of inappropriate content,” the report notes.

Meta commissioned the following report from the Board of Supervisors last fall. In In the report, Meta said it would be updating some of its policies, including some aspects of its Dangerous Organizations and Individuals (DOI) policy. The company said it has “started a policy development process to review our definitions of praise, support, and representation in our DOI Policy” and that it is “working hard to find way to make the user experience of our DOI strikes simpler and more transparent.”

Meta also notes that it has “started testing on building a dialect-specific Arabic classifier” for written content and that it has changed its internal process for managing keywords. and “blocklist” affects content removal.

Notably, Meta says it is “evaluating the feasibility” of a proposal that notifies users when to place “feature limits and search limits” on a user’s account after they receive it. be warned. Instagram users have long complained that the app bans or reduces the visibility of their accounts when they post about certain topics. These complaints grew last spring when users reported that they were banned from posting about Palestine or that the reach of their posts was decrease. At that time, Meta an unspecified “glitch”. The BSR report notes that the company has also implemented emergency “glass-breaking” measures that temporarily restrict all “repeated content.”

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