RAMALLAH, Sunday, September 25, 2022 (WAFA) - Sada Social Center for Palestinian Digital Rights, a social media watch group, stated that what was revealed by the study examining the commitment of Meta to human rights in its policies towards content related to the conflict with the Israeli occupation, confirms the data and continuous complaints about the company’s violations against Palestinian content and their extension to represent a violation of Palestinian human rights.
The Center pointed out the importance of the report’s recognition, which was conducted by BSR (Business for Social Responsibility), that there is a bias against Palestinian content and in the interest of Israeli policies and narrative, which is reflected in the algorithms specializing in censoring and restricting Palestinian content and working to remove it.
These algorithms are absent in the case of Hebrew content issued by propaganda systems and incitement followed by the Israeli occupation. The Center also stressed that the nature of the existing bias in favor of the occupation goes beyond what the report mentioned, and appears in the nature of the existing coordination between the company and the occupation authorities against Palestinian content, and even the occupation military government’s use of “meta” pages as tools in spreading the threat and practicing repression and incitement against the Palestinians.
Sada Social stressed the great importance of the report’s recognition of the impact of policies on digital content on human rights, which means that the policies of companies dominant in the digital sector and social media companies should be subject to binding human rights oversight from the competent authorities, especially the International Council for Human Rights, and international human rights institutions.
The Center considered that limiting the validity of the report to the policies of Meta during the May 2021 aggression represents an omission of clear indications of increasing bias in the period following the period dealt with in the report, and it also goes beyond the need to verify previous practices, which reflects the existence of deep-rooted policies and practices that cause ongoing violations of Palestinian human rights.
The Center also stressed that the importance of the report doesn’t mean that it can be considered an independent and sufficient investigation to clarify the size and nature of these violations, which the Center believes that their impact exceeds what the report indicated, especially since there are major problems related to the mechanisms of work on this report. The most prominent of these problems is the selection of Meta Company as the authority authorized to verify and report, which is supposed to be completely independent from the company, as well as its exclusion of the role of institutions concerned with Palestinian digital rights and human rights from actively participating in this report, and limiting its role to the process of listening to clarifications from Meta employees, criticizing the technical restrictions imposed by the company on the sessions, which gave company employees a dominant and guiding position in the course of the discussion
The Center denounced Meta's selective handling of the report's outputs and recommendations, noting that the company's statement about its handling of the report's findings confirms the suspension of many of its recommendations.
The Center called for the need to build on what was stated in the report towards the formulation of an independent human rights monitoring mechanism on the company’s policies in this aspect, stressing that the company’s policies in dealing with the outcomes of the investigation confirm the continuation of bias against Palestinian human.