The main purpose of the report was to see what effects the app’s content moderation policies had on the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This is after an escalation in violence in the Gaza Strip that was seen in May. This report found both of Meta’s apps, Facebook and Instagram guilty of oppressing Palestinians’ freedom to voice their thoughts and opinions.
This report was brought forward by the BSR (Business for Social Responsibility) and in regards to the types of data examined, Meta’s actions really had an adverse effect on Palestinians. It prevented them from sharing information and some insights related to their experiences when they occurred.
In the same way, the report was seen noting how a thorough examination of several cases proved that some cases of Israel had also been banned wrongly or even restricted during the time. But the dramatic effects seen on Palestinians were just disproportionately greater, it continued.
Seeing Meta release the shocking findings related to an external report is definitely shocking. And to have such incidents occur when conflicts and escalations were at their peak belonging to both Israelis and Palestinians is wrong on so many levels. And seeing the rights to anyone’s freedom of expression getting violated is horrible.
BSR went on to mention in the report how the data was reviewed and each of the cases was thoroughly investigated. And after a careful overview, they have come to the conclusion that what Meta did was wrong because this form of discrimination is a crime.
Arabic content was found to be overly enforced and the rates for detecting hostile forms of speech in Arabic were way more than that seen for Hebrew content. In the same way, the company had a special internal tool reserved for this purpose. Much lower accuracy for correctly delineating Palestinian language was seen too.
On that note, it was not uncommon to see how so many accounts belonging to Palestinians were slammed with incorrect or false strikes of having inappropriate content. And that’s why they continued to be removed at alarming rates.
Meta was given the orders by the company’s Oversight Board last year to commission the report and that’s why they took on the task. But it now appears that after such findings, it may not have been the best decision.
The company has since then issued a response about how it will update a few policies to better go about the situation. It also confirms that the process has begun and it’s turning out to be so much more transparent. So others are aware of what changes are getting implemented.
As you can imagine, the news is awfully disturbing and concerning. It is spreading fury by many who have come forward in the past to prove how the firm has been pro-Israeli and anti-Palestinian for so long.
This is definitely not the first time we’ve heard about firms in the West oppressing the rights of Palestinians. Google was accused of doing the same by one of its leading former employees.
In the same way, we’re hearing more about Meta adding a new classifier to better gauge its Arabic content so the process of handling keywords and its lists for blocking is done more accurately than before.
Meta is also looking to investigate a lot of users’ complaints about how their posts related to Palestine are being barred or whether the reach on such content is set at a bare minimum.
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