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28 Nov 2023

Israel/Palestine: Social media platforms criticised for running ad campaigns that are graphic and contain violent incitement against Palestinians, CSOs call on platforms to regulate ads running in conflict zones

Ad campaigns attempting to gather support for Israel's on-going siege and invasion of Gaza have raised serious concerns over social media platforms ability to regulate the ads that may contravene their standards for content and yet get pushed to millions of users instead. Civil society organizations have called on platforms to ensure their ads approving process comply with their human rights due diligence obligations.

A series of graphic ads depicting alleged Hamas attack footage reportedly ran on media and video games aimed at children. A series of ads in Hebrew dehumanizing and calling for violence against Palestinians, intended by 7amleh NGO to test Facebook’s content moderation standards and AI ads approving process, were all reportedly approved by the platform. Another ad campaign is reportedly running to millions of American and Europeans did not adequately disclose its funding.

The use of paid, targeted ads campaigns on social media is, according to experts, a growing feature of modern warfare which further emphasizes that social media platforms regulate their ads in accordance with their content posting rules so that they're not profiting from the most violent forms of war propaganda. Ads use in this conflict is especially concerning as Israel’s widespread paid digital presence contrasts reports of suppression of Palestinian and allies' voices aiming to showcase the violence against civilians in the Gaza strip and the West Bank.