Facebook, Instagram to Ban Criticism of ‘Zionists’ as ‘Hate Speech’

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by Chris Menahan, Information Liberation:

Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta, under lobbying from the World Jewish Congress, announced Tuesday that claims of “Zionists” “running the world or controlling the media” will be banned as “hate speech” going forward.

“After hearing input and looking at research from different perspectives, we will now remove speech targeting ‘Zionists’ in several areas where our process showed that the speech tends to be used to refer to Jews and Israelis with dehumanizing comparisons, calls for harm, or denials of existence,” Meta announced in a blog post.

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Our longstanding approach to the word “Zionist” under our Hate Speech policy has been to treat the word as a proxy for Jewish or Israeli people in two narrow circumstances: (1) where Zionists are compared to rats, reflecting known antisemitic imagery, and (2) where context makes clear that “Zionist” means “Jew” or “Israeli” (e.g., “Today the Jews celebrate Passover. I hate those Zionists.”). This approach will remain in place. However, we have determined that the existing policy guidance does not sufficiently address the ways people are using the term “Zionist” online and offline.

Going forward, we will remove content attacking “Zionists” when it is not explicitly about the political movement, but instead uses antisemitic stereotypes, or threatens other types of harm through intimidation, or violence directed against Jews or Israelis under the guise of attacking Zionists, including:

– Claims about running the world or controlling the media;

– Dehumanizing comparisons, such as comparisons to pigs, filth, or vermin;

– Calls for physical harm;

– Denials of existence;

– Mocking for having a disease.

[…] As part of our Policy Forum process, we considered feedback from a variety of sources. Across a range of global stakeholders, we have found sharply contrasting views on how to evaluate attacks on “Zionists.” For many, the term is a proxy for Jewish people or Israelis. This perception is particularly strong when the term is paired with age-old antisemitic tropes – especially those invoking the conspiracy of worldwide Jewish power. Many other stakeholders told us that “Zionists” is a reference to adherents of an ideology, rooted in history, and that today the term is used most often to refer to the Israeli government and its supporters. This perception is particularly strong when the term is used in commentary about Israeli government actions in Gaza and the West Bank.

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