Share on

Stockhom: Skyline International  condemns Meta for its alleged "systemic and global" censorship of pro-Palestinian content, as detailed in a recent report by Human Rights Watch (HRW).

In a scathing 51-page report, HRW documented and analyzed over a thousand reported instances of Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, removing content and suspending or permanently banning accounts since the outbreak of the Israel-Gaza war on 7 October. The report outlined "six key patterns of undue censorship" of content supporting Palestine, including the removal of posts, stories, and comments, as well as disabling accounts, restricting users' ability to interact with others' posts, and employing "shadow banning" to significantly reduce the visibility and reach of pro-Palestinian material.

The report highlighted instances of content originating from more than 60 countries, predominantly in English, and expressing peaceful support for Palestine in diverse ways. HRW even noted that their own posts seeking examples of online censorship were flagged as spam by Meta's platforms.

Skyline International strongly condemns Meta's actions, asserting that the censorship of pro-Palestinian content on Instagram and Facebook is both systemic and global. The organization aligns with HRW's findings, attributing Meta's inconsistent enforcement of its policies to erroneous content removal, overreliance on automated tools, and undue government influence over content removals.

In response to the accusations, Meta acknowledged making errors but refuted the claim that it deliberately suppresses a particular voice. Skyline International notes that the company's response downplays the gravity of the situation, especially when faced with a thousand documented instances of content removal related to the Israel-Gaza conflict.

Skyline International underscores Meta's role as a global platform and its responsibility to uphold freedom of expression. The organization calls on Meta to address the issues raised and ensure transparent content moderation policies, and rectify instances of wrongful censorship.

This incident marks the second time this month that Meta has faced accusations of silencing pro-Palestinian content. Senator Elizabeth Warren recently wrote to Meta's co-founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, seeking information following reports from Instagram users about content demotion and removal, as well as instances of shadow banning.

Additionally, Meta's oversight board recently criticized the company for wrongfully removing two conflict-related videos from Instagram and Facebook, emphasizing their value in informing the world about human suffering on both sides. The videos were subsequently reinstated.

Users of Meta's products have also reported technological bias, with Instagram's translation software inaccurately replacing "Palestinian" followed by the Arabic phrase "Praise be to Allah" with "Palestinian terrorists" in English. Furthermore, WhatsApp's AI, when asked to generate images of Palestinian boys and girls, produced cartoon children holding guns, while images of Israeli children did not include firearms.

Skyline International remains committed to championing the principles of free expression and calls on Meta to address these concerns promptly, ensuring a platform that respects diverse voices and perspectives. The organization stands in solidarity with those advocating for a fair representation of pro-Palestinian views on social media platforms.