Facebook’s Secret Rules about the word ‘Zionist’ censor Criticism of Israeli Brutality

Obtained by The Intercept, the policies alarmed advocates, who said Facebook is silencing political speech.


“Facebook claims that their policy on the word ‘Zionist’ is about Jewish safety,” Dani Noble, an organizer with Jewish Voice for Peace who reviewed the rules, told The Intercept. “But, according to their content policy excerpt, it seems Facebook decision-makers are more concerned with shielding Zionist Israeli settlers and the Israeli government from accountability for these crimes.”

The Intercept: FACEBOOK’S SECRET INTERNAL rules for moderating the term “Zionist” let the social network suppress criticism of Israel amid an ongoing wave of Israeli abuses and violence, according to people who reviewed the policies.

The rules appear to have been in place since 2019, seeming to contradict a claim by the company in March that no decision had been made on whether to treat the term “Zionist” as a proxy for “Jew” when determining whether it was deployed as “hate speech.” The policies, obtained by The Intercept, govern the use of “Zionist” in posts not only on Facebook but across its subsidiary apps, including Instagram.

Both Facebook and Instagram are facing allegations of censorship following the erratic, widespread removal of recent posts from pro-Palestinian users critical of the Israeli government, including those who documented instances of Israeli state violence.

Mass violence has gripped Israel and Gaza since last week. Tensions kicked off amid Palestinian protests against planned evictions in occupied East Jerusalem to make way for Jewish settlers. Eventually, Israeli security forces stormed the Al Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem’s old city, one of the holiest sites in Islam.   read more…


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