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1 Jan 2024

Investigative human rights reports allege Meta censored Palestinian content amid current siege and bombardment of Gaza and previous escalations; incl. co. response

Human Rights Watch published an investigative report that reportedly finds "systemic censorship" of Palestine content on Instagram and Facebook amid the intense bombardment and siege of Gaza starting in October 2023. The 51-page report, “Meta’s Broken Promises: Systemic Censorship of Palestine Content on Instagram and Facebook,” showcases "a pattern of undue removal and suppression of protected speech including peaceful expression in support of Palestine and public debate about Palestinian human rights". Meta, in its response to the report, cited its human rights responsibility and core human rights principles as guiding its “immediate crisis response measures” since October 7.

In 2022, an independent investigation conducted by Business for Social Responsibility and commissioned by Meta found that the company’s content moderation “appear[s] to have had an adverse human rights impact on the rights of Palestinian users.” It also found that Meta adversely affected “the ability of Palestinians to share information and insights about their experiences as they occurred” following another escalation of violence in the West Bank in the occupied Palestinian territories in 2021. In response, Meta made a commitment to make a series of changes to its policies and their enforcement in content moderation.