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Meta Tightens Rules on Hate Speech: New Policies on 'Zionist' Usage

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Meta has updated its hate speech policies on Facebook and Instagram, focusing on the term 'Zionist' when used with anti-Semitic metaphors. This change follows a comprehensive investigation and aims to curb online hate speech.

Meta Updates Hate Speech Policy on Facebook and Instagram

Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, has revised its policies regarding the term 'Zionist' when used in conjunction with anti-Semitic metaphors. The update follows an extensive investigation into the term's historical and current usage, particularly in the context of the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas.

Extensive Consultation and Research

According to Meta, the decision was made after consulting over 145 historians, civil rights groups, legal and human rights experts, and free speech advocates globally. The investigation revealed that the term 'Zionist' is often used as a substitute for 'Jew' or 'Israeli' in a negative context, leading to harmful stereotypes and dehumanizing comparisons.

Policy Implementation and Future Actions

Meta's new guidelines will result in the removal of posts that attack 'Zionists' when the term is used to propagate anti-Semitic stereotypes or threats. The company emphasized that these changes aim to curb online hate speech and protect users from harmful content. Additionally, Meta is evaluating whether to allow the pro-Palestinian slogan 'from the river to the sea' on its platforms, given its controversial implications.

Meta also highlighted that there is no universal consensus on what people mean when they use the term 'Zionist.' However, the company decided to act due to its findings that the term is frequently used in hate attacks against Jews and Israelis. Examples include claims of Jews ruling the world, comparisons to animals, and calls for violence.

Broader Context and Reactions

This policy change comes amid heightened tensions and severe restrictions on Palestinian content since the start of the conflict in Gaza on October 7. Meta's actions, including the removal of much Palestinian content, have sparked criticism from Palestinians and their supporters. In contrast, Meta recently announced that it would consider the term 'martyr' as neutral under specific conditions, allowing its use on Facebook and Instagram without leading to content removal.

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Refs: | Aljazeera | ANSA |

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