goal has finally the findings of an external report that examined how its content moderation policies affected Israelis and Palestinians amid an escalation of violence in the Gaza Strip last May. the of Business for Social Responsibility (BSR), found that Facebook and Instagram violated the right of Palestinians to freedom of expression.

“Based on the data reviewed, examination of individual cases and related materials, and the involvement of external stakeholders, Meta’s actions in May 2021 appear to have had an adverse human rights impact on the rights of Palestinian users to privacy. freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, political freedom. participation and non-discrimination and thus on the ability of Palestinians to share information and insights about their experiences as they occurred,” writes BSR in its report.

The report also notes that “an examination of individual cases” showed that some Israeli accounts were also mistakenly banned or restricted during this period. But the report’s authors highlight several systemic problems that they say disproportionately affected Palestinians.

According to the report, “Arabic content was more over-enforced” and “proactive detection rates for potentially violative Arabic content were significantly higher than proactive detection rates for potentially violative Hebrew content.” The report also notes that Meta had an internal tool to detect “hostile speech” in Arabic, but not in Hebrew, and that Meta’s systems and moderators were less accurate in evaluating Palestinian Arabic.

As a result, many users’ accounts received “fake attacks” and posts were mistakenly deleted by Facebook and Instagram. “These strikes remain in effect for those users who did not appeal erroneous content removals,” the report states.

Meta had commissioned the report following of the Oversight Board last fall. In According to the report, Meta says it will update some of its policies, including several aspects of its Dangerous Persons and Organizations (DOI) policy. The company says it has “begun a policy development process to review our definitions of praise, support, and representation in our DOI Policy” and is “working on ways to make user experiences of our DOI strikes simpler and transparent”.

Meta also notes that it has “begun experimentation in building a dialect-specific Arabic classifier” for written content, and that it has changed its internal process for managing keywords and “block lists” that affect content removal.

In particular, Meta says it is “assessing the feasibility” of a recommendation to notify users when it places “feature limitation and search limitation” on user accounts after they receive a notice. Instagram users have long complained that the app hides or reduces the visibility of their account when they post about certain topics. These complaints increased last spring when users reported that they were banned from posting about Palestine or that the scope of their posts was diminished. At that time Target an unspecified “failure”. The BSR report notes that the company had also implemented emergency “glass-breaking” measures that temporarily speeded up all “repeatedly shared content.”

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