Home Reports and investigations 15/October/2021 07:59 PM

Facebook to allow independent investigation into suppressing pro-Palestinian content

 Facebook to allow independent investigation into suppressing pro-Palestinian content
Cartoon by Brazilian cartoonist Carlos Latuff on Facebook's censorship of Palestinian accounts (2016)

WASHINGTON, Friday, October 15, 2021 (WAFA) – Facebook will allow an independent investigation into content moderation of Arabic and Hebrew posts after the social media giant has been accused of removing and suppressing pro-Palestine content.

"We have partnered with a non-profit organization expert in business and human rights, BSR, to conduct human rights due diligence of Facebook's impacts during May-June's intensified violence in Israel and Palestine," Facebook said in a statement on Friday.

"BSR will examine relevant internal Facebook sources and engage with affected stakeholders. We will implement the board's recommendation in our due diligence, defining and prioritizing all salient human rights issues according to the guidance of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights."

The tech company added that it will publicly communicate the results of the investigation in 2022.  

Activists and rights groups have accused the social media giant, which also owns Instagram and WhatsApp, of censoring Palestinians and supporters following the removal of pro-Palestinian posts.

Last week, Human Rights Watch accused in a report Facebook of wrongfully removing and suppressing content by Palestinians and their supporters, including about human rights abuses carried out by Israel during the May 2021 aggression on Gaza.

"The company’s acknowledgment of errors and attempts to correct some of them are insufficient and do not address the scale and scope of reported content restrictions, or adequately explain why they occurred in the first place," said the report.

"Facebook has suppressed content posted by Palestinians and their supporters speaking out about human rights issues in Israel and Palestine," said Deborah Brown, senior digital rights researcher and advocate at Human Rights Watch. "With the space for such advocacy under threat in many parts of the world, Facebook censorship threatens to restrict a critical platform for learning and engaging on these issues."

Human Rights Watch documented that Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, removed posts, including reposts of content from mainstream news organizations. 


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