Anti-Semitism, Tech, Online, hate speech

Meta makes promising move in combating anti-Semitism online

The technological company behind Facebook has announced a new policy in targeting Anti-Semitism online by investigating trolls hiding anti-Semitic comments under the guise of anti-Zionism.

Antisemitism online target campaigns (photo: T. Schneider / Shutterstock)

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, has announced a new policy aimed at addressing antisemitism that disguises itself as anti-Zionism on its social media platform. This policy change involves categorizing the use of the term 'Zionist' in place of 'Jew' as anti-Semitic and Tier 1 hate speech.

The announcement specifies, "Following input and research from various perspectives, we will now remove content targeting 'Zionists' in cases where our investigations indicate it is used to refer to Jews and Israelis with dehumanizing comparisons, calls for harm, or denials of existence."

Meta further explained, "We have found that our current policy guidance does not adequately cover the ways in which 'Zionist' is used both online and offline."

Moving forward, Meta will take action to remove content attacking 'Zionists' when it deviates from explicit discussions about the political movement and instead employs anti-Semitic stereotypes, threatens harm, or denies the existence of Jews or Israelis. This includes claims of global influence, control over media, dehumanizing comparisons, calls for violence, or mocking related to health conditions.

The announcement has garnered praise from Jewish organizations and antisemitism watchdogs. The World Jewish Congress (WJC) hailed the decision as a significant step in combating hidden antisemitism under the guise of political discourse. President Ronald S. Lauder of the WJC described Meta's decision as crucial in the ongoing battle against online antisemitism and hatred.

The Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) also expressed approval, emphasizing that appropriating the term 'Zionist' to mask antisemitism has no place on Meta's platforms. CEO Sacha Roytman Dratwa welcomed the decision, noting that it marks an important step in ending impunity for anti-Semitic rhetoric online.

"Antisemites have been getting away with promoting hatred towards Jews by substituting terms such as Zionists and Zionism, without facing consequences, despite the fact that Zionism is the Jewish people's national liberation movement in their native land. The adversaries of the Jewish People have not just taken Jewish native words, but also weaponized them against us. Meta's decision is a positive one as it acknowledges the issue and takes a strong stance against it."

In conclusion, Meta's new policy represents a pivotal move to create a safer and more respectful online environment by addressing the misuse of 'Zionist' and its implications for Jewish communities globally.


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