Publication of an independent report on “the impact of Meta on human rights in Israel and Palestine” in May 2021

An independent review of Meta’s content moderation policies during the May 2021 escalation in the Gaza Strip found that Meta’s content moderation policies had a “negative human rights impact” on rights of Palestinian users – which include their freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and political participation. This has manifested in part in Meta’s incongruous application of its Dangerous Individuals and Organizations (DOI) and Violence and Incitement (V&I) policies to Palestinian users, resulting in over-application. content from Palestinian users and insufficient enforcement of offensive content that breaks the rules. .

The review was conducted independently by Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) but commissioned by Meta in response to public criticism of Meta’s handling of content issues on its platforms during an escalation of the conflict in Gaza between the May 10 and May 21, 2021. It was released on September 22 in English, Arabic, and Hebrew.

According to BSR, the under-application and over-application occurred through proactive detection technologies, including the fact that Meta has an “Arabic hostile speech classifier” but no such classifier for Hebrew, as well as a lack of human resources for Arabic and Hebrew speaking content editors. In addition, the report cites Meta’s legal obligations regarding U.S. designations of foreign terrorist organizations which, pursuant to Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) (18 USC §2339B), are a potential cause for bias in content moderation, writing that legal designations for terrorist organizations generally have a “disproportionate focus on individuals and organizations who have identified themselves as Muslim, and therefore Meta’s DOI policy and listing are more likely to impact Palestinian and Arabic-speaking users, both based on Meta’s interpretation of legal obligations, and in Error.”

In response to BSR’s findings and the 21 recommendations, Meta announced that it would implement 10, partially implement four, and “is currently evaluating the feasibility of six others”. He declined to act on one of BSR’s recommendations to fund public research on “the optimal relationship between legal counter-terrorism obligations and the policies and practices of social media platforms,” ​​saying he s would rely on his advice to understand his legal obligations.

Read “An independent due diligence exercise on Meta’s impact on human rights in Israel and Palestine during the May 2021 escalation” from BSR.

Read Meta’s answer.

Both are below, respectively.

Amanda J. Marsh