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Meta is under fire from Human Rights Watch for’silencing’ pro-Palestinian speakers

<p>Pro-Palestinian information on Facebook and Instagram has been restricted, according to Human Rights Watch, which accused Meta on Thursday of “systemic online censorship” since the start of the Israel-Hamas conflict.</p>
<p><img decoding=”async” class=” wp-image-317258″ src=”https://www.theindiaprint.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/theindiaprint.com-meta-is-under-fire-from-human-rights-watch-forsilencing-pro-palestinian-speakers-4.jpg” alt=”theindiaprint.com meta is under fire from human rights watch forsilencing pro palestinian speakers 4″ width=”992″ height=”662″ title=”Meta is under fire from Human Rights Watch for'silencing' pro-Palestinian speakers 3″ srcset=”https://www.theindiaprint.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/theindiaprint.com-meta-is-under-fire-from-human-rights-watch-forsilencing-pro-palestinian-speakers-4.jpg 670w, https://www.theindiaprint.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/theindiaprint.com-meta-is-under-fire-from-human-rights-watch-forsilencing-pro-palestinian-speakers-4-150×100.jpg 150w” sizes=”(max-width: 992px) 100vw, 992px” /></p>
<p>In a study published on Thursday, the New York-based organization said that “Meta’s policies and practices have been silencing voices in support of Palestine and Palestinian human rights on Instagram and Facebook in a wave of heightened censorship of social media.”</p>
<p>Deborah Brown, acting assistant head of HRW’s technology and human rights section, stated, “Meta’s censorship of content in support of Palestine adds insult to injury at a time of unspeakable atrocities and repression already stifling Palestinians’ expression.”</p>
<p>The social media behemoth was already under fire on Tuesday from Meta’s independent monitoring body for deleting postings that depicted civilian casualties in the fighting.</p>
<p>According to an AFP assessment based on Israeli estimates, the conflict started when Hamas struck Israel on October 7, killing roughly 1,140 people—mostly civilians—and kidnapping nearly 250 more.</p>
<p>According to the Hamas administration, Israel’s subsequent military operation in Gaza has killed at least 20,000 Palestinians so far, most of whom being women and children.</p>
<p>HRW reported on more than 1,050 “takedowns and other suppression of content” on Facebook and Instagram from more than 60 countries in October and November, pointing to “systemic online censorship”.</p>
<p>“Palestinians and their supporters, including about human rights abuses” uploaded the allegedly offensive material.</p>
<p>“While this appears to be the biggest wave of suppression of content about Palestine to date, Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, has a well-documented record of overbroad crackdowns on content related to Palestine,” the study said.</p>
<p>After the organization finished its investigation, hundreds more individuals came forward to report instances of censorship, “meaning that the total number of cases Human Rights Watch received greatly exceeded 1,050,” it said.</p>
<p>Among the 1,050 incidents examined, 1,049 were “peaceful content in support of Palestine that was censored or otherwise unduly suppressed, while one case involved the removal of content that was in favor of Israel,” according to HRW.</p>
<p>According to HRW, censorship on Facebook and Instagram includes deleting posts, stories, and comments; blocking or suspending accounts; limiting some functionalities, such as the ability for users to interact with posts or follow certain accounts; and reducing the amount of time that users’ material is visible.</p>
<p>The organization claimed that limits applied to its own postings as well. Dozens of people complained that they were unable to comment, like, or repost an HRW article that was marked as “spam” and asked for proof of online censorship.</p>
<p>“Meta should permit protected expression, including about human rights abuses and political movements, on its platforms,” stated HRW.</p>

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