THE parent company of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, Meta, finds itself embroiled in controversy as it faces accusations of suppressing posts related to Palestine amidst the ongoing conflict in the region.
A purported WhatsApp message warning business page owners against posting content supportive of Palestine began circulating on social media, sparking outrage and concerns about freedom of expression.
“I received a call from Meta Malaysia earlier, advising that Facebook page admins posting such content, even on their personal accounts, are potentially putting their business page at risk.
“Posting on this topic could result in receiving a warning and might even lead to a suspension of the page,” the purported WhatsApp message read, which have already started circulating on social media.
However, Meta vehemently denies these claims, asserting that their policies are aimed at ensuring safety while providing a platform for diverse voices.
In an email to Malaysia’s fact-checking alliance JomCheck, Meta’s partner manager for Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore Xiohan Wu clarified that Meta is not attempting to suppress any specific community or viewpoint.
“The suggestion that we’re trying to suppress a particular community or point of view is categorically untrue. Our policies are designed to give everyone a voice while keeping people safe on our apps, and we apply these policies regardless of who is posting or their personal beliefs.”
Moreover, Wu referred to Meta’s Oct 13 statement on its policies in the wake of the war in Israel and Palestine.
He pointed out in a statement that Meta stated it is taking measures to “address the harmful and potentially harmful content” on its platforms, related to the war. The company also prohibits violent and graphic content across its platforms, policies applied globally and without bias.
Besides, Meta noted that those who feel they were wrongly censored can put in an appeal and it will “look into it”. It also stressed that it would not allow “content containing praise for Hamas” because Hamas is designated by Meta as a “dangerous organisation”.
Meta’s statement referred to the Oct 7 incident as a “Hamas terrorist attack,” aligning with their policy stance, while also acknowledging Israeli strikes on Gaza as “Israel’s response.”
This choice of language has stirred debate, with some expressing concerns about the neutrality and objectivity of Meta’s content moderation.
Furthermore, more than 3,500 people have been killed in Gaza from ongoing Israeli strikes while 1,400 were killed in the Hamas attack in Israel. The casualties are overwhelmingly civilians, including children. – Oct 20, 2023
Main photo credit: Reuters