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Meta says it’s stepping up safety enforcement during Israel-Hamas war


Meta Platforms CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives at federal court in San Jose, California, on Dec. 20, 2022.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Meta is expanding its enforcement of its policies against violent posts and misinformation amid the Israel-Hamas war as charged images and posts balloon on social media.

Meta and other social media platforms such as X, formerly known as Twitter, have faced pressure from Europe to stay vigilant on misinformation during the conflict, in light of the European Union’s Digital Services Act. The DSA requires social media platforms to monitor and remove illegal content in Europe.

A Meta spokesperson said the company had responded to a letter from European commissioner for the internal market Thierry Breton about illegal content on the platform amid the conflict, but did not elaborate on what it said.

Meta described the actions it has taken since the conflict began in a blog post published Friday. It has created a special operations center with experts fluent in Hebrew and Arabic. It has also already removed or marked disturbing more than 795,000 Hebrew or Arabic posts that violated policies against violent and graphic content, hate speech, harassment or coordinating harm, among others.

In the three days after the Oct. 7 Hamas surprise terror attack on Israel, Meta said it “removed seven times as many pieces of content on a daily basis for violating our Dangerous Organizations and Individuals policy in Hebrew and Arabic alone,” compared to the two months prior.

Hamas is designated under that policy and banned from Meta platforms due to its designation by the U.S. government as a foreign terrorist organization. Under its dangerous organizations and individuals policy, Meta says it will remove “praise and substantive support” of the group when aware of it, but “while continuing to allow social and political discourse.”

In the blog post, Meta said it has temporarily lowered the threshold to trigger its technology that prevents “potentially violating and borderline content” from being amplified across its services. Meta is also “temporarily expanding” its violence and incitement policy and will remove posts that identify hostages, even when done to raise awareness.

The company said certain Instagram hashtags that it finds consistently used on posts in violation of its policies will not be searchable. People who have previously violated its policies will have restrictions on the use of Facebook and Instagram Live.

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