Palestinian and global digital rights groups bring top Meta executive to the table on issues of anti-Palestinian censorship


Digital rights groups bring top Meta executive to the table on issues of anti-Palestinian censorship

On February 22, a group of Palestinian and global digital rights organizations held a meeting with Meta’s President of Global Affairs, Nick Clegg, and Neil Potts (VP for Public Policy within the Trust & Safety divisions), Miranda Sissons (global human rights policy lead), to discuss the systematic censorship of Palestinians on Meta’s platforms. The advocates were representatives of the #StopSilencingPalestine campaign, which recently issued a series of demands. Those demands focused on challenging Meta’s content moderation practices which led to systemic censorship of Palestinian voices and restriction of content about Palestine by offering recommendations for policy shifts and other measures to better protect digital rights during this conflict. The meeting delved into issues such as the over-moderation of Palestine-related content, Meta’s algorithmic bias against Palestinians, the disparity in its crisis response compared with other instances of armed conflict and military occupation, and the continued proliferation of hate speech and incitement to violence on Meta’s platforms. 


“Civil society can no longer accept piecemeal solutions to the systematic suppression of Palestinian voices online. We demand a serious show of political will and commitment to human rights from Meta, hence our meeting with its senior executive and top-level staff,” said Marwa Fatafta MENA Policy and Advocacy Director for Access Now. “The meeting was an important opportunity for Palestinian grassroots activists and global digital rights organizations to raise the harms Meta's policies and actions have inflicted on our communities.”


The group of digital rights advocates had officially requested the meeting in December of 2023. However, engaging with top executives at Meta has been a long-held priority for civil society, and the meeting represents a positive step towards the protection of Palestinian digital rights.


"It is a welcome step that Meta's senior leadership has shown some willingness to engage with those civil society organisations closely monitoring digital rights alongside the broader horrific situation in Gaza,” said Chantal Joris, ARTICLE 19’s Senior Legal Officer. “But we require much more substantial action if Meta is to finally fulfill its responsibilities under the UN Guiding Principles to respect human rights and humanitarian law during armed conflicts."

“We want this meeting, and Mr. Clegg’s strong commitment to continue engaging with us, to send a message to all social media platforms that we Palestinians demand to be heard and brought to the table on practices that are currently harming us immeasurably, and we won't accept anything less,” said Jalal Abukhater, advocacy manager at 7amleh - The Arab Center for the Advancement of Social Media.



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