Nearly 200 Facebook employees have signed an open letter calling for the company’s leadership to address concerns that pro-Palestine voices are being suppressed by the social media giant.
The letter follows Israel’s latest aggression on Gaza which led to the death of over 250 Palestinians, including 67 children, 39 women and 17 elderly people. During the 11 day onslaught, which saw Israel demolish a building housing media agencies from around the world, Facebook came under sharp criticism for suppressing pro-Palestine content.
— Palestine Legal (@pal_legal) May 26, 2021
The letter, seen by the Financial Times, urges Facebook to introduce new measures to ensure pro-Palestinian content is not unfairly taken down or downranked, as some staff and critics claimed happened during the recent aggression against Gaza.
“As highlighted by employees, the press and members of Congress, and as reflected in our declining app store rating, our users and community at large feel that we are falling short on our promise to protect open expression around the situation in Palestine,” the letter said.
“We believe Facebook can and should do more to understand our users and work on rebuilding their trust.”
The letter also calls on Facebook to commit to hiring more Palestinian talent, publish more data on government-sponsored requests for content takedowns, and clarify its policies around anti-Semitism.
Proud to be working with @privacynetwork_ signatory of the open letter against the systematic #censorship of twitter and facebook – which I myself have suffered – regarding content related to what is happening in #Palestinehttps://t.co/a6ERtpfiTH
— Leila BM (@Dark_AsTheNight) May 20, 2021
Suppression of pro-Palestine content by Facebook and Instagram, which is owned by the social media giant, reached unprecedented levels during last month’s onslaught by Israel. A number of Palestinian news agencies sent a formal complaint to Facebook as well as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression requesting an urgent review of, and explanation for, the decisions made by Facebook to suspend accounts and posts which are affiliated to Palestinian news agencies and commentators.
Facebook’s attempt to suppress pro-Palestine content is part of a wider campaign to curtail criticism of Israel in the media and broader society.
(MEMO, PC, Social Media)