Meta admits to harming Palestinian human rights

Facebook owner Meta admitted in a due diligence report published on Thursday that it had caused harm to Palestinian human rights during May last year. 

The ten-page report, which was conducted by Business for Social Responsibility (BSR), revealed how Meta’s actions and policy choices affected the Gaza Strip during a brief but deadly military escalation that reportedly resulted in at least 260 deaths and more than 2,400 destroyed dwelling units in May 2021. 

“Meta’s actions in May 2021 appear to have had an adverse human rights 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,” read part of the report.

According to the BSR report, Meta unjustly removed content for Arabic-speaking users on a larger per-user basis during the May 2021 escalation, and the imbalance might have contributed to Palestinian voices being silenced.

At the start of the conflict, Facebook and Instagram apparently noted an increase in situations that violated its policies and were being reviewed. 

BSR’s report confirmed that the case volume on Meta platforms increased tenfold on peak days, however, the platform didn’t have enough workers who could understand Arabic or Hebrew to handle the influx of cases.

The BSR report maintained that a lack of a Hebrew hostile speech classifier may have led to a lack of enforcement of potentially damaging Hebrew content.

According to Meta, only ten of the BSR’s recommendations to address the impact of the situation will be fully implemented, claiming that “there are no quick, overnight fixes to many of these recommendations.” 

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