Meta will begin removing posts about ‘Zionists’ that are deemed to threaten Jews and Israelis

Now posts that threaten Jewish people or Israelis via references to ‘Zionists’ will violate the company’s community standards


A logo of US company's Meta is displayed during the Vivatech technology startups and innovation fair, at the Porte de Versailles exhibition center in Paris, May 22, 2024 (Credit: JULIEN DE ROSA/AFP via Getty Images)

Meta will crack down on people using ‘Zionists’ as a way of attacking Jews and Israelis online, in a radical change to their moderation policies.

The parent company of Facebook, Instagram and Threads will now seek to delete posts and comments across their networks about Zionists that employ antisemitic stereotypes or threaten harm through intimidation and violence against Jews or Israelis.

Under the new amendments to Meta policy, posts with the term “Zionist” will be removed when they are found to dehumanise Jewish people, make comparisons between Zionists and animals, call for harm towards Jews, deny the existence of those with protected characteristics, or invoke harmful antisemitic stereotypes such as Jewing control over the world or the media.

The social media giant’s policy forum defended the decision by asserting that “the word ‘Zionist’ has layers of meaning based on its origins and usage today, and may also be highly dependent on context,

“The term often refers to supporters of a political movement, which is not itself a protected characteristic under our policies, but in some cases may be used as a proxy to refer to Jewish or Israeli people, which are protected characteristics under our Hate Speech policy,” the forum said.

The World Jewish Congress, which has long advocated for the change, commended Meta’s announcement. The step, WJC said, marked “a significant step in combating the veiled antisemitism that has proliferated under the guise of political discourse,” especially since October 7.

WJC President Ronald S Lauder said: “Meta’s decision is a much-needed advancement in our ongoing fight against online antisemitism and hatred. By recognising and addressing the misuse of the term “Zionist,” Meta is taking a bold stand against those who seek to mask their hatred of Jews.
“We appreciate that Meta has truly listened to the voices of Jewish communities that we work with. This policy change will help create a safer, more respectful online environment for everyone. I hope all other platforms will follow Meta’s leadership and take similar action.”

The WJC recently launched the Institute for Technology and Human Rights, a pioneering initiative aimed at addressing online antisemitism and its real-world consequences.

Yfat Barak-Cheney, WJC’s Director of Technology and Human Rights and the inaugural director of the new institute, said: “Through our work with Jewish communities and tech platforms, WJC has made considerable progress in the global effort to keep antisemitism and hate speech from spreading on the internet.

“Meta’s policy change – the product of years of engagement with WJC – is a significant milestone in this ongoing effort particularly as hate speech targeting Jews has risen in the wake of the October 7 attacks.”

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