Meta's Facebook Allowed Ads Calling for Genocide of Palestinians, Assassination of Activists and More

The recent outbreak of conflict between Israel and Palestine has created many fault lines in a variety of industries, with many companies not hesitating before picking a side and often casting aside the Palestinian people in the process. Perhaps the most flagrant example of a company’s bias against Gaza can be seen in the recent ads that were approved by Facebook.

With all of that having been said and now out of the way, it is important to note that the Palestinian social media research and advocacy group 7amleh tried to post these ads as part of a test of Facebook’s content moderation policies. These ads included calls for committing genocide against Palestinians, wiping out women, children and senior citizens in the Gaza Strip, as well as vast array of language that dehumanized Palestinians as well as Arabs (which are mostly Muslims) in general.

It bears mentioning that the organization got the idea for the tests after seeing a legitimate ad on Facebook which called for the assassination of the pro-Gaza activist Paul Larudee. The ad was published the right wing Israeli group Ad Kan which was created by former members of the IDF as well as the Israeli intelligence apparatus.

Facebook has clear guidelines that prevent ads calling for violence against activists from getting published. The fact that Ad Kan’s ads ended up being seen by millions seems to confirm that Meta has a clear bias against Palestine, one that gives Israel a free pass to violate its policies. In spite of the fact that this is the case, some are saying that the ad was allowed due to the presence of Facebook’s AI based content moderation system, and that it does not indicate that the company has any actual bias.
Regardless, Facebook claims to have a review system that checks each approved ad prior to it going live. Facebook uses an algorithm that no one knows much about for the purposes of reviewing its content, and it appears that this algorithm is biased in favor of Israel. This is just one of many examples of the calls to violence that have erupted all across social media in the aftermath of the conflict, and it will be interesting to see how Meta responds to the accusations that are being made against it.

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