Ramallah - 10/18/2021. The Palestinian center for development and media freedoms - MADA welcomes Facebook's decision to appoint an external body to investigate accusations against the company of fighting and suppressing Palestinian content and narrative, and to examine whether decisions to modify or delete content, including automated decisions, treat Palestinian content differently. The bias against the Palestinian content was blatantly revealed during the Israeli aggression on Al-Aqsa and the Gaza Strip and the attempt to displace families from Sheikh Jarrah.
We at MADA Center have warned of the danger of this policy since reaching understandings between the company and the occupation government in 2016, when we issued a detailed report on November 28, 2019 entitled: “Freedom of Publishing and Violations against Journalists on Social Media in Palestine.” https://www.madacenter.org/en/article/1267/ .
We also referred to this in many statements and reports, and during our participation in many international conferences, and discussed Facebook violations against the Palestinian content at the trusted Partners meeting with Facebook in Amman on January 2020, https://www.madacenter.org/en/article/1280/ .
Over the past years, we have sent many complaints about Facebook's violations against Palestinian content. We repeated this in the letter we sent on June 17, 2021 and signed by 28 Palestinian institutions. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1O8fdkL8A2GfWmYtR6ZOG4j77j-nInbNm-__lNDWEDsc/edit
The appointment of the committee came about a month after the decision of the Supervisory and Oversight Board - the supreme body to follow up on Facebook's content supervision practices - to refer the complaint submitted to the company about bias against Palestinian content to investigation through an independent external committee, which confirms that all these efforts made by many Palestinian, Arab, and international institutions did not lead to a change in this policy because of the broad interest between Facebook and Israel.
Only after the widespread campaign launched by Palestinian, Arab and international activists to lower Facebook's rating, did the company begin to realize the seriousness of this to it.
Therefore, we call on all activists and international institutions concerned with human rights and freedom of expression to continue to put pressure on the company. Also MADA will start communicating with the investigation committee to provide it with evidence and we call on others to do so.