Meta to axe more posts targeting ‘Zionists’
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Meta to axe more posts targeting ‘Zionists’

Facebook parent says term often used in hate speech referring to Jews or Israelis

(Photo: Reuters)
(Photo: Reuters)

Meta Platforms said on Tuesday that it would start taking down more posts that target “Zionists”, where the term is used to refer to Jewish people and Israelis rather than representing supporters of the political movement.

The parent company of Facebook and Instagram said in a blog post that it would remove content “attacking ‘Zionists’ when it is not explicitly about the political movement” and uses antisemitic stereotypes or threatens harm through intimidation or violence directed against Jews or Israelis.

Meta’s hate speech policy prohibits direct attacks on people on the basis of what it calls protected characteristics, which include race, ethnicity, religious affiliation, disability and gender identity, among others.

The social media giant said its existing policies, which treat the term “Zionist” as a proxy for Jewish or Israeli people in just two narrow circumstances, did not sufficiently address the ways people use the word more broadly.

The policy update, which follows Meta’s consultations with 145 stakeholders representing civil society and academia across global regions, comes as tensions escalate in the Middle East amid the Israel-Hamas war.

Meta has been criticised for years on how it handles content involving the Middle East, and those criticisms shot up further after the start of the war, with rights groups accusing the company of suppressing content supportive of Palestinians on Facebook and Instagram.

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