Meta (META.O) announced that it is implementing actions to address the issue of disinformation related to Hamas, such as removing expressions of support for the group. This action comes in response to criticism from the European Union, which accused social media companies of not doing enough to combat disinformation. After a recent attack by Hamas on Israel, there has been a proliferation of misleading claims and manipulated images on platforms like Facebook.
Over a three-day period following the attack, Meta stated that it removed or labeled as disturbing over 795,000 pieces of content in Hebrew or Arabic.
Meta is temporarily broadening its policies on violence and incitement, which involves removing content that explicitly identifies individuals held hostage by Hamas. This applies even when the intent is to condemn or raise awareness about their situation. While content containing blurred images of victims is still permitted, the company will give priority to the safety and privacy of kidnapping victims in cases where it is uncertain or difficult to make a clear assessment.
In the aftermath of the attack, Hamas has taken numerous Israeli and foreign hostages to the Palestinian territory of Gaza. Meta is cognizant of Hamas’ threats to broadcast videos of these hostages, and it is committed to promptly removing such content and preventing its redistribution. Additionally, Meta is reducing the threshold at which its technology intervenes to prevent the recommendation of content that might potentially violate its rules across Facebook, Instagram, and Threads platforms.
While Meta bans Hamas from its platforms, it does permit social and political discourse, encompassing areas like news reporting, discussions related to human rights, and academic, neutral, and critical exchanges. The European Commission has exerted pressure on social media platforms to remove illegal and harmful content to align with its Digital Services Act (DSA), which can lead to significant fines for non-compliance.
Notably, Meta’s response differs from that of another company, X (formerly known as Twitter), which has requested further information from the Commission regarding violations on its platform. As a result, the Commission has initiated an investigation into X.