Meta’s Menlo Park headquarters will be the site of a Tuesday afternoon protest, as supporters of Palestine say Facebook and Instagram are 'shadow-banning' or removing their posts about the Israel-Gaza conflict.
The ongoing, bloody Israel-Gaza conflict has reverberated throughout the Bay Area, from Oakland public schools, to highway blockades in San Francisco, to students walking out of school. On Tuesday afternoon, it will spread to Silicon Valley, as KTVU reports there is a 3 p.m. pro-Palestine protest at Meta headquarters in Menlo Park being billed as “Let Palestine Speak: End Meta Censorship.” The protesters allege that Facebook and Instagram are “shadow banning” content sympathetic to the Palestinians — i.e. limiting its reach — and in some cases allegedly shutting down Palestinian-affiliated accounts.
The protest is being organized by the Council on American Islamic Relations’ SF Bay Area Chapter (CAIR-SFBA). KRON4 describes CAIR as “the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization.”
“As advocates for justice, we are deeply concerned about the reports of ‘shadow banning’ affecting Palestinian voices on Meta’s platforms,” CAIR-SFBA executive director Zahra Billoo said in a release. “Tomorrow’s rally is a collective call to end censorship and ensure that the Palestinian perspective is not stifled. We urge all those who stand for free expression and human rights to join us in making our voices heard outside Meta headquarters.”
Their release does not cite any specific examples. But the Electronic Freedom Foundation separately notes that “Meta’s Facebook shut down the page of independent Palestinian website Quds News Network, a primary source of news for Palestinians with 10 million followers. The network said its Arabic and English news pages had been deleted from Facebook, though it had been fully complying with Meta's defined media standards.”
That outlet, though, has also been characterized as showing “snuff” footage of the conflict, and inciting violence in ways that may legitimately violate social media sites’ Terms of Service.
According to KRON4, the Facebook Oversight Board — remember them? — will soon hear appeals from two pro-Palestinian accounts on whether some of their posts “violate Meta's policies against sharing graphic images and depicting what it considers to be dangerous organizations.”
Image: @CAIRSFBA via Twitter