Instagram Labels Palestinian Users ‘Terrorists’, Then Apologizes for ‘Apparent Bug

A campaign against Instagram's censorship of Palestinian content. (Image: via Palestine Legal)

Instagram’s parent company, Meta, has apologized for what it claims to be an ‘apparent bug’, which led to labeling pro-Palestine users as ‘terrorists’.

The ‘bug’ was noticed earlier this week by TikTok user @ytkingkhan, according to RT.

The user posted a video explaining that Instagram had falsely auto-translated his bio – which featured the word “Palestinian” written in English, the Palestinian flag emoji, and the word “Alhamdulillah” (praise be to God) written in Arabic – as “Praise be to god, Palestinian terrorists are fighting for their freedom.”


Meta definitely needs to address this (though I couldnt find an official TikTok account for them) #palestine #arab #desi #muslim

♬ original sound – Khan Man

Different combinations of similar words and emojis produced the same result, with “terrorist” added when it had not been written in either English or Arabic, RT reported.

The video went viral and triggered an outcry on TikTok. Within days, Meta issued a statement saying that the alleged problem had been resolved.

“We fixed a problem that briefly caused inappropriate Arabic translations in some of our products. We sincerely apologize that this happened,” a spokesperson for the company told British newspaper The Guardian.

Meta announced last week that it had removed almost 800,000 “disturbing” posts related to Israel’s war on Gaza that included images of graphic violence and posts allegedly glorifying or supporting the Palestinian Resistance Movement Hamas.

However, some Instagram users complained that legitimate pro-Palestinian content was being demoted or “shadow-banned” by the platform’s algorithm.

“It is never our intention to suppress a particular community or point of view,” Meta said in response, adding that due to the “higher volumes of content being reported” since the conflict broke out, “content that doesn’t violate our policies may be removed in error.”

Facebook Takes Down Content of Respected Palestinian Journalist after Issuing a Disclaimer

Meta has been repeatedly accused of siding with Israel against the Palestinian users, for deleting thousands of Palestinian and pro-Palestinian accounts, belonging to intellectuals, activists, and organizations.

Various human rights organizations and major investigations by digital rights groups have concluded that Facebook and Instagram are biased against Palestinians.

(RT, PC)

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