Tell Facebook:
Stop Silencing Palestine

Child looks at phone in crowd with Palestinian flags

On May 6, 2021, activists reported Instagram stories including reshared and archived ones relating to Israel's forced evictions of Palestinian families in East Jerusalem were removed without prior notice. Instagram blamed it on a technical error that the company claimed to have fixed.

On May 7, as Israeli forces stormed into Al-Aqsa mosque and attacked worshipers with tear gas and stun grenades during the holy month of Ramadan, Instagram restricted access to Arabic-language posts using hashtags ( #الأقصى) that mentioned Al-Aqsa mosque, the third-holiest site in Islam. The company blamed it on an enforcement error, which listed the mosque as a dangerous organization.

7amleh, Access Now and Sada Social have received hundreds of reports that social platforms are suppressing Palestinian protest hashtags, blocking livestreams, and removing posts and accounts.

On May 7, Access Now, 7amleh, and other rights groups wrote an open letter to Facebook and Twitter demanding the companies to “immediately stop censoring and reinstate the accounts and content of Palestinian voices (...) and open an investigation into these takedowns, and transparently and publicly share the investigations.”

On May 11, Twitter temporarily restricted the account of Palestinian American writer Mariam Barghouti, who was reporting on the protests and the violence against protesters by Israeli police, army and settlers. Twitter later said it was an accident.

On May 13, The Intercept published Facebook's an internal policy they obtained on when to delete Facebook/Instagram posts containing the word "Zionist”. The source said the policy has been in place since 2019 contrary to what the company claimed in meetings with civil society.

7amleh, the Arab Center for Social Media Advancement, just released a report called “The Attacks on Palestinian Digital Rights”, documented more than 500 reports between May 6 and May 19 on such takedowns marking an increase in attacks on Palestinian digital rights.

What We're Asking Facebook

  1. Public Audit: A full, independent, public audit of content moderation policies with respect to Palestine and a commitment to co-design policies and tools that address deficiencies or overreach of content moderation found during the audit. Furthermore, rules should be based on existing human rights frameworks and must be applied consistently across jurisdictions.
  2. Government request transparency: Complete transparency on requests—both legal and voluntary—submitted by the Israeli government and Cyber Unit, including number of requests, type of content enforcement; and data regarding compliance with such requests. Users should also be able to appeal content decisions1
  3. Automation transparency: Transparency with respect to where automation and machine learning algorithms are being used to moderate content related to Palestine, including error rates as well as classifiers used.
  4. Dangerous organizations: Transparency regarding any content guidelines or rules related to the classification and moderation of terrorism and extremism. Companies should, at minimum, publish any internal lists of groups classified as “terrorist” or “extremist.” Users cannot adhere to rules that are not made explicit.
  5. Commitment to co-design: Commitment to a co-design process with civil society to improve upon policies and processes involving Palestinian content.

Tell Facebook: Stop Silencing Palestine

Sign on to our petition calling on Facebook to take five concrete steps to end the silencing of Palestinians and content and accounts related to Palestine.

 

Sign the Petition Now!

 

Early signatories

Lexi Alexander
Ahmed Shihab-Eldin
Saeed Taji Farouky
Jamal Dajani
Dana El Kurd
Hannah Khalil - Playwright and Screenwriter
Hamed Sinno
Peter Gabriel
Angela Davis
Brian Eno
Naomi Klein, Rutgers University
Cory Doctorow
Molly Crabapple
Frank Barat
Kamila Shamsie
Omar Offendum
Ashraf Zeitoon
Laura Poitras
Amany Khalifa
Addie Wagenknecht
Omar Robert Hamilton
Marwa Fatafta
Mahsa Alimardani
Jillian C. York
Rima Sghaier
Nima Fatemi
Raya Sharbain
Dia Kayyali
Cooper Quintin, Senior Security Researcher, EFF
Eva Galperin
Caroline Sinders, founder Convocation Design + Research
Nicholas Blincoe
Philip Metres
Gissou Nia, human rights lawyer
Martijn Grooten
Kade Crockford
Sarah Schulman, Distinguished Professor, City University of New York, College of Staten Island
Hossam el-Hamalawy, journalist and member of the Egyptian Revolutionary Socialists Organization
David Dayen, author and journalist
Alfredo Lopez,May First Movement Technology
Sean Jacobs, Associate Professor, International Affairs, The New School/Founder and Editor, Africa Is a Country
Inua Ellams
James Schamus
Margo Viscusi
Ben Ehrenreich
Joey Ayoub
Lisa Goldman
Elhum Shakerifar
Nancy Kricorian
Whitney Shepard, independent writer
Mallory Knodel
Lina Meruane
"Facebook can't have it both ways: if it is going to be central to our political and social lives, it can't make up the rules as it goes, singling out some groups for special enforcement and exempting others. The requests in this call represent the bare minimum that we should expect from a well-run service." — Cory Doctorow
"Being the dominant social media should not give you the right to determine which voices are amplified and which are silenced . Freedom of expression is crucial to a free and open society ." —Musician Peter Gabriel