Israel-Palestine war: Call for Meta to end dehumanisation of Palestinians on its platforms
The Palestinian Digital Rights Coalition is urging Meta to end the dehumanisation of Palestinians and the suppression of their narratives online.
“Amid the intensifying atrocities perpetrated by Israeli authorities against the Palestinian people, characterized by relentless violence and grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions 1949, we are compelled to address Meta on the issue of dehumanisation of the Palestinian people, especially during times of crisis,” the coalition said in a statement on Tuesday.
Earlier this month, the Guardian reported that a WhatsApp function, which produces images based on user queries, displays an image of a gun or a young boy holding a gun when the search terms "Palestinian", "Palestine", or "Muslim boy Palestinian" are entered.
In October, for individuals who had the term "Palestinian" in English in their Instagram profiles, the emoji of the Palestinian flag, or the Arabic phrase "alhamdulillah", when this was automatically translated into English, the text was rendered as “Praise be to god, Palestinian terrorists are fighting for their freedom”, 404Media reported.
Both WhatsApp and Instagram are owned by Meta.
The Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) study found that in May 2021, Meta’s actions had an adverse impact on the “rights of Palestinian users to freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, political participation, and non-discrimination, and therefore on the ability of Palestinians to share information and insights about their experiences as they occurred”.
The Palestinian Digital Rights Coalition said Palestinian content remains "disproportionately over-moderated" on Meta’s platforms.
"Palestinians are relentlessly targeted with racist and inflammatory speech and incitement to violence which has inevitably led to real-world harm.
"It frustrates us to witness the persistent challenges faced by Palestinians on Meta’s platforms."
The Palestinian Digital Rights Coalition is calling on Meta to release a comprehensive audit of all datasets used for AI training in content moderation.
It is also demanding an inquiry into recent events related to Meta’s AI models.
“Meta must take immediate and decisive action to rectify the deep-rooted bias that continues to plague its platforms, from AI-driven dehumanization to the disproportionate moderation of Palestinian content,” the coalition said.
“The company risks not only losing the trust of the Palestinian people, but also undermining its credibility in the Arab world.”