Global civil society coalition calls on Facebook to #StopSilencingPalestine

Eighteen organisations alongside more than 50 artists, journalists, and human rights defenders kicked off the #StopSilencingPalestine campaign to advocate against  Facebook’s censorship of Palestinian voices. The latter was manifested when Facebook took down Palestinians’ posts and accounts that reported the forced evictions in Sheikh Jarrah and police brutality and clampdown on peaceful demonstrators. The campaign called upon Facebook to: 

  • Public Audit: A full, independent, public audit of content moderation policies with respect to Israel and Palestine.
  • Government request transparency: Complete transparency on requests—both legal and voluntary—submitted by the Israeli government and Cyber Unit.
  • Automation transparency: Transparency with respect to where automation and machine learning algorithms are being used to moderate content related to Palestine.
  • “Dangerous individuals and organizations”: Transparency regarding any content guidelines or rules related to the classification and moderation of terrorism and extremism. 
  • Commitment to co-design: Commitment to a co-design process with civil society to improve upon policies and processes involving Palestinian content.

‘Social media companies blaming content takedown and removal on ‘technical errors’ are failing to take full responsibility for their impact on vulnerable communities. This cannot be the excuse for denying activists in Palestine a platform to document abuses and demand respect for human rights. Facebook and other social media companies need to be transparent about their policies and commit to co-designing solutions with civil society,’ Access Now MENA Campaigner Kassem Mnejja. Similar censorship practices by other technology companies against Palestinians have also been reported.