Joint call to Meta: Stop censoring Palestinian voices

By Maria Mingo

6 December 2023

Today, Mnemonic joins Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and 17 other civil society organisations in renewing our call to Meta to stop its systemic censorship of Palestinian voices by overhauling its content moderation practices and policies that continue to restrict content about Palestine. Two years after our initial campaign in 2021, our demands remain unmet. Given the ongoing conflict, the urgency for Meta to address our—now updated—recommendations is greater than ever.

Read the full recommendations on the official #StopSilencingPalestine campaign website: https://stopsilencingpalestine.com

It is imperative that Meta considers the impact of its policies and content moderation practices on Palestinians and take serious action to mitigate the risk of contributing to the commission of serious crimes and human rights abuses in conflict.

Recommendations particularly critical to enable human rights research, open source investigations, and accountability for grave crimes include:

  • Human rights risk assessments: We demand that Meta conduct a heightened human rights due diligence into the impact of its content moderation and curation actions, as well as its products and services more broadly, during this crisis. We also urge Meta to outline steps it has taken to mitigate the risk of contributing to gross human rights violations, including the risk of genocide, or being complicit in exacerbating existing tensions or conflicts, noting the role played by Meta in contributing to atrocities.
  • Algorithmic transparency: We demand that Meta be transparent about where and how automation and machine learning algorithms are used to moderate or translate content, including sharing information on the classifiers programmed and used, and their error rates. We demand investigations into Meta’s most egregious automation errors.
  • Retention of critical human rights content: In the face of at speed and at scale automated content removal, we urge Meta to publicly clarify their retention policy in situations of crises and armed conflict. We are seeking clarity about the policy that is being finalized by Meta; in particular which actors (beyond law enforcement) can send a request for data retention, the type of data that is retained, how they are handling situations in which content has been algorithmically removed before it has been seen by anyone, and specificity around the criteria for retention. We also demand Meta considers creating an expert program to consult local and international civil society and communities that can help identify the accounts that are most relevant for the purposes of international justice and accountability.
  • Access to critical human rights content: We urge Meta to consider research in situations of human rights crises and conflict as a matter of public interest. We ask Meta to provide access to the Content Library and API to civil society and academic researchers working in this domain, and to consider these stakeholders for future updates of this and similar products.This consultation should be specifically mindful of potential government misuse and overreach, as well as the security implications that access to this type of data may have on communities affected by violence or on those recording the footage.

Mnemonic is an NGO dedicated to archiving, investigating and memorialising digital information documenting human rights violations and international crimes. Mnemonic also provides trainings, conducts research, engages in content moderation advocacy, and develops tools to support advocacy, justice and accountability.

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