Former Meta engineer sues over Gaza post suppression

Ferras Hamad claims he was fired for trying to address bugs that caused the suppression of Palestinian Instagram posts.

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A former Meta engineer has accused the company of bias in its handling of Gaza-related content, alleging he was fired for addressing bugs that suppressed Palestinian Instagram posts. Ferras Hamad, a Palestinian-American who worked on Meta’s machine learning team, filed a lawsuit in California state court for discrimination and wrongful termination. Hamad claims Meta exhibited a pattern of bias against Palestinians, including deleting internal communications about the deaths of Palestinian relatives and investigating the use of the Palestinian flag emoji while not probing similar uses of the Israeli or Ukrainian flag emojis.

Why does it matter?

The lawsuit reflects ongoing criticisms by human rights groups of Meta’s content moderation regarding Israel and the Palestinian territories. These concerns were amplified following the conflict that erupted in Gaza after a Hamas attack in Israel and Israel’s subsequent offensive.

Hamad’s firing, he asserts, was linked to his efforts to fix issues that restricted Palestinian Instagram posts from appearing in searches and feeds, including a misclassified video by a Palestinian photojournalist.

Despite his manager confirming the task was part of his duties, Hamad was later investigated and fired, allegedly for violating a policy on working with accounts of people he knew personally, which he denies.