WASHINGTON—Today, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (MI-13) sent a letter to the parent companies of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok urging the social media platforms to cease censorship of Palestinian political speech in the wake of a report they’ve been censoring content and disabling user accounts raising awareness about recent Israeli state-backed violence on Palestinians.
“With reporting in the mainstream media often ignoring and silencing Palestinian voices, social media has become a crucial source for information, pictures, and videos documenting the injustices that Palestinians face,” Congresswoman Tlaib wrote. “Social media accounts have been some of the only places for Americans to access first-hand accounts of the occupation and violence from Palestinians on the ground. That is why these reports are particularly troubling—Palestinians often have nowhere else to turn to make their voices heard other than social media.”
Congresswoman Tlaib also referred to another recent report illustrating a “disturbing double-standard: while posts and accounts sharing Palestinian perspectives are censored and restricted, extremist Israeli groups openly use Facebook-owned WhatsApp to coordinate violent mob attacks on Palestinians.”
“I cannot understand how Facebook can justify censoring peaceful Palestinian voices while providing an organizing platform for extremist hate,” the letter continues.
In conclusion, Congresswoman Tlaib asked a series of questions hoping to clarify the respective companies’ policies on matters such as the role human moderators at their companies have in determining whether content should be removed, whether those human moderators ever received training specific to content related to Israel and Palestine, ensuring that Palestinian voices are being heard in your decision-making process regarding the treatment of content about Palestine and Israel, etc.
The full text of the letter can be read here.