Jakarta, CNBC Indonesia – Instagram is considered to have rules that are biased against Palestinian users, as has been complained about for years.
Instagram’s content moderation practices are said to have a disproportionate impact on users in Palestine.
Meta, Instagram’s parent company, reportedly has difficulty understanding Arabic culture and language. The reason is, Arabic consists of more than 25 dialects. Instagram was criticized for neglecting to diversify its language resources so that it could understand the various variations of Middle Eastern languages.
Companies’ black-and-white policies often prevent them from effectively moderating topics, including combating violent content. Advocacy groups have also raised concerns that Meta’s partnerships with government agencies, such as the Israeli Cyber Unit, politically influence the platform’s policy decisions.
During the conflict between Hamas and Israel in 2021, a report created by Meta and conducted by a third party concluded that the company’s actions had an adverse human rights impact on Palestinian users’ rights to freedom of expression and political participation.
Beliefs about Meta’s bias in banning or limiting the visibility of content about Palestine are not new.
In an Instagram Story last year, supermodel and activist Bella Hadid, who is of Palestinian descent, alleged that Instagram prevented her from posting content on her Story only if the content was based in Palestine.
He said Instagram was quick to ban content about Palestine. The number of views on his Story then fell by almost 1 million.
In the 2021 conflict, Meta argued that there was a technical error in deleting posts about Palestine. When asked for comment about the bias of the recent ban claims, a company representative pointed to a Threads post by Meta communications director Andy Stone.
Instagram blamed a bug that affected all Stories about Palestine.
“We identified a bug that impacts all Stories that reshare Reel and Feed posts, meaning they don’t appear correctly in people’s Stories, resulting in significantly reduced reach,” said Stone, quoted by TechCrunch, Friday (20/ 10/2023)
“This bug affects accounts worldwide and has nothing to do with the subject matter of the content and we are fixing it as quickly as possible,” he added.
However, many parties were angered by Meta’s actions because they continued to suppress Palestinian voices.
Leen Al Saadi, a Palestinian journalist currently living in Jordan, said she was used to being censored.
His Instagram account was restricted last year after he posted a snippet of the first episode of the podcast, which discussed a documentary about Palestinian street art under occupation.
“Palestine is currently experiencing two wars,” said Al Saadi.
“The first is with its legitimate inhabitants. The second war is with the entire Western media landscape, and when I say the entire landscape, I mean social media.”
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