Meta Considering Increased Censorship of the Word "Zionist"

Credit: Ashton Emanuel

FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM’S parent company, Meta, is contemplating stricter rules around discussing Israeli nationalism on its platforms, a major policy change that could stifle criticism and free expression about the war in Gaza and beyond, five civil society sources who were briefed on the potential change told The Intercept.

“Meta is currently revisiting its hate speech policy, specifically in relation to the term ‘Zionist,’” reads a January 30 email sent to civil society groups by Meta policy personnel and reviewed by The Intercept. While the email says Meta has not made a final determination, it is soliciting feedback on a potential policy change from civil society and digital rights groups, according to the sources. The email notes that “Meta is reviewing this policy in light of content that users and stakeholders have recently reported” but does not detail the content in question or name any stakeholders.

“As an anti-Zionist Jewish organization for Palestinian freedom, we are horrified to learn that Meta is considering expanding when they treat ‘Zionism’ — a political ideology — as the same as ‘Jew/Jewish’ — an ethno-religious identity,” said Dani Noble, an organizer with Jewish Voice for Peace, one of the groups Meta has contacted to discuss the possible change. Noble added that such a policy shift “will result in shielding the Israeli government from accountability for its policies and actions that violate Palestinian human rights.”