Oversight Board: Facebook Should Have Independent Palestine-Israel Bias Review

A campaign against Facebook censorship of pro-Palestine content. (Photo: File)

Facebook’s Oversight board has recommended on Tuesday an independent review into bias in moderating posts related to Israel and Palestinians.

This came as part of an Oversight Board case about the sharing of an Al Jazeera Arabic post, which pertained to May’s deadly Gaza escalation, by an Egyptian account.

Facebook was asked if it was approached by Tel Aviv, officially or unofficially, to take down content about the escalation of violence that occurred in Palestine-Israel this April and May.

This escalation culminated in more than 260 Palestinians being killed during a deadly 11-day Israeli bombing campaign against the Gaza Strip.

The social networking giant refused to tell the Oversight Board if it was unofficially contacted, though it did confirm that it was not officially asked to take anything down.

The body said it had received comments from the general public claiming Facebook “disproportionately removed or demoted content from Palestinian users and content in Arabic, especially in comparison to its treatment of posts threatening anti-Arab or anti-Palestinian violence within Israel.”

It also said there were accusations the company is failing to do enough to take down posts encouraging “violence against Israeli civilians”.

The independent, though company-created, watchdog called for these matters “to be looked at independently, in addition to urging “greater transparency with regard to [Facebook’s] treatment of government requests.”

It recommended a neutral party performs an in-depth investigation to see if Facebook is administering Arabic and Hebrew-language content “without bias”.

Facebook said on Tuesday: “We welcome the Oversight Board’s decision today on this case.

“Facebook previously reinstated this content as it did not violate our policies and was removed in error, so no further action will be taken on this content.”

(The New Arab, PC, Social Media)

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