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Has Meta expanded its hate speech policy to remove more posts targeting 'Zionists'?

Meta expanded its hate speech policy

Meta Platforms announced on Tuesday that it will begin removing more posts targeting "Zionists" when the term is used to refer to Jewish people and Israelis rather than supporters of the political movement. The parent company of Facebook and Instagram stated in a blog post that it will take down content attacking "Zionists" if it includes antisemitic stereotypes or threatens harm through intimidation or violence against Jews or Israelis.


Meta's hate speech policy prohibits direct attacks on individuals based on protected characteristics, including race, ethnicity, religious affiliation, disability, and gender identity. The company acknowledged that its previous policies, which treated "Zionist" as a proxy for Jewish or Israeli people in limited circumstances, did not adequately address broader uses of the term.


The policy update follows consultations with 145 stakeholders from civil society and academia worldwide and comes amid rising tensions in the Middle East due to the Israel-Hamas conflict. Meta has faced long-standing criticism over its handling of content related to the Middle East, with increased scrutiny and accusations of suppressing pro-Palestinian content since the start of the conflict.


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Key Points

  • Expansion of Policy: Meta will now remove more posts that target "Zionists" when the term is used to refer to Jewish people and Israelis, rather than just political supporters.

  • Prohibited Content: Content attacking "Zionists" will be removed if it includes antisemitic stereotypes or threatens harm against Jews or Israelis.

  • Consultation and Context: This update follows input from global stakeholders and comes amid heightened Middle East tensions, addressing criticisms of Meta's handling of related content.



FAQs

Q1: What changes has Meta made to its hate speech policy?

Meta has expanded its policy to remove more posts that target "Zionists" when the term is used to refer to Jewish people and Israelis, especially if the content includes antisemitic stereotypes or threats of harm.


Q2: Why is Meta making this change?

Meta is making this change to better address the broader use of the term "Zionist" and to protect Jewish and Israeli individuals from content that uses antisemitic stereotypes or threats.


Q3: How does Meta define a "protected characteristic"?

Protected characteristics include race, ethnicity, religious affiliation, disability, and gender identity. Meta's policy prohibits direct attacks on individuals based on these attributes.


Q4: What prompted Meta to update this policy now?

The update comes amid rising tensions in the Middle East and follows consultations with 145 civil society and academia stakeholders, aiming to address long-standing criticisms of Meta's content moderation.


Q5: How does Meta ensure its policies are fair and effective?

Meta consults with global stakeholders, including civil society and academia, to continually refine its policies and address emerging issues, ensuring fair and effective content moderation.


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