- Sputnik International, 1920
Get the latest news from around the world, live coverage, off-beat stories, features and analysis.

Former Meta Engineer Suing Company, Claims They Censored Pro-Palestinian Content

© AP Photo / Mohammed HajjarPalestinians walk past the building destroyed in the Israeli Bombardment of the Gaza Strip in Gaza City on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2024
Palestinians walk past the building destroyed in the Israeli Bombardment of the Gaza Strip in Gaza City on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2024 - Sputnik International, 1920, 06.06.2024
In December of 2023, Human Rights Watch reported that Meta’s content moderation policies and systems appeared to be “increasingly silencing” voices in supporting Palestinians on Instagram and Facebook.
Meta*, formerly the Facebook company which also owns Instagram, is being sued for censoring Palestinian content across its social media platforms. The lawsuit was brought forward on Tuesday by a former Meta engineer, Ferras Hamad, who is Palestinian-American.
Hamad claims he was fired by Meta for trying to help fix bugs causing the suppression of Palestinian Instagram posts. His case, brought forward in a California state court, accuses Meta of discrimination, wrongful termination and other wrongdoing over his firing.
Hamad first started working on the company’s machine learning team in 2021. He has accused Facebook's parent company of a pattern of bias against Palestinians. After he was fired in February, Hamad said Meta deleted internal communications between workers about the deaths of their family members in Gaza. He also claimed the company conducted investigations into their employees’ use of the Palestinian flag emoji.
According to the lawsuit, the company did not conduct similar investigations for employees posting Israeli or Ukrainian flag emojis.
Almost 200 Meta employees voiced similar concerns to Hamad’s to the company's chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, in an open letter earlier this year.
Hamad claims that in December, he noticed procedural irregularities in the handling of an SEV (site event) related to restrictions on content posted by Palestinian personalities, which prevented the post from appearing in searches and feeds. In one such instant, the suit alleges that Hamad found a short video posted by a Palestinian photojournalist was misclassified as pornographic even though it showed a destroyed building in Gaza.
Hamad said that the SEV was part of his job function after he requested to resolve the bug that seemed to be censoring Palestinian content. But a month after he voiced his concern a Meta representative told him he was the subject of an investigation and he filed an internal discrimination complaint in response. Days later, Hamad was fired.
At the beginning of this year, Human Rights Watch wrote a report in which they claimed that Meta’s content moderation policies and systems had increasingly silenced voices supporting Palestine on their platforms, Instagram and Facebook.
The organization writes that their report “documents a pattern of undue removal and suppression of protected speech including peaceful expression in support of Palestine and public debate about Palestinian human rights.”
The organization found six key patterns of censorship, with each recurring in at least 100 instances: “content removals, suspension or deletion of accounts, inability to engage with content, inability to follow or tag accounts, restrictions on the use of features such as Instagram/Facebook Live, and ‘shadow banning.’”
They add that the report “found that the problem stems from flawed Meta policies and their inconsistent and erroneous implementation, overreliance on automated tools to moderate content, and undue government influence over content removals.”
*Meta is banned in the Russian Federation for extremist activities.
To participate in the discussion
log in or register
Заголовок открываемого материала