Dear Mr. Clegg,
The recent Human Rights Due Diligence Report of Arabic and Hebrew content on Meta’s platforms in the Israel/Palestine context in May 2021 confirmed that Meta’s content moderation policies harmed Palestinian’s right to freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and political participation among other rights. The report showed Meta’s bias against Palestinians through over-enforcing Palestinian Arabic content and under-enforcing the Israeli Hebrew content. It largely confirmed what Palestinians have been saying for years now: Palestinians have been systematically silenced and censored on Meta platforms. Meanwhile, hate speech and incitement of violence against Palestinians in Hebrew have proliferated across the same platforms.
Palestinians face systematic deliberate censorship on Meta’s platforms due to the lack of transparency about governmental requests to take down Arabic content - both legal and voluntary requests -, the absence of a co-design approach with civil society organizations and other stakeholders, and no transparency around the dangerous organizations and individuals (DOI) policy, among other reasons.
Meta has ignored continuous calls from digital and human rights organizations to end its bias against and censorship of Palestinian content, and BSR’s due diligence report pointed out Meta’s “unintentional bias” against Palestinian content. However, of the 21 recommendations made by BSR, Meta has only committed to fully implementing 10, partially implementing 6, further reviewing 4, and rejecting 1. Meta, this is not enough! Today, Meta can prove that their bias was unintentional through its commitment to implementing BSR's recommendations, and ending their discriminatory practices and policies agianst Palestinians. Therefore, we are reaching out to deliver a simple message to you and say; Meta, let Palestine speak!
Palestinians should be able to enjoy their fundamental rights without facing systematic discrimination on your platforms. The BSR report is a step in the right direction,
but the report is meaningless if it is not followed up with meaningful action by Meta to commit to implementing its recommendations within a clear timeframe.
Therefore, we call on Meta to announce a detailed implementation timeline within 60 days from now.
Last but not least, for a comprehensive approach to ending the silencing and censoring of Palestinians on your platforms,
we also stress our previous calls. Meta must provide full transparency on requests submitted by both the Israeli government and the Israeli Cyber Unit,
including Meta's responses to these requests. Meta should commit to more transparency about where and how automated decision-making is being used for content moderation.
It has to improve its mechanisms to better route potentially violating Arabic content by dialect/region, Meta should create a dialect-specific Arabic classifier,
working in partnership with Arab linguists and language model experts, as well as continuing its work on having functioning Hebrew classifiers.
Meta should be more transparent about its content policies related to the classification and moderation of DOI content, and the company should initiate
its own investigation to designate and add Israeli militarized groups to the list. The company should be serious about ending Israeli hate speech against Palestinians.
To do this, Meta needs to improve your Hebrew language content moderation by creating a Hebrew hate speech lexicon.
Once again, I implore you; Meta, let Palestine speak!