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Facebook backlash.

In a significant policy shift, Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, announced on Tuesday that it would expand its hate speech regulations to include the removal of posts that use the term “Zionist” as a proxy for Jews or Israelis in a derogatory context, AFP reported.

The tech giant’s latest update aims to address the complex issue of online antisemitism while attempting to maintain a balance with free speech principles. Under the new guidelines, content that employs “Zionist” in conjunction with dehumanizing comparisons, calls for harm, or denials of existence will be taken down.


“We’re extending our approach to treat ‘Zionist’ as a proxy for Jewish or Israeli in certain contexts,” a Meta spokesperson explained. This move builds on the company’s existing policy of flagging the term when used alongside antisemitic imagery or explicit references to Jewish people.

Meta emphasized that the policy update is designed to combat instances where “Zionist” is used to propagate harmful stereotypes, such as claims of world domination or media control, rather than in legitimate political discourse.

This development comes on the heels of another recent modification to Meta’s content moderation strategy. Earlier this month, the company announced a more nuanced approach to using the Arabic word “shaheed,” commonly translated as “martyr,” following recommendations from its independent oversight board.

As social media platforms continue to grapple with the spread of hate speech and misinformation, Meta’s policy shifts reflect the ongoing challenges in navigating the fine line between protecting free expression and preventing the proliferation of harmful content online.

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