Newsdeck

World

Facebook deploys special team as Israel-Gaza conflict spreads across social media

This week the big tech news was Facebook’s decision to remove news from its services in Australia. (Photo: cn.com/Wikipedia)

May 19 (Reuters) - Facebook Inc set up a 24-7 "special operations center" last week to respond to content posted on its platform about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict amid violence in the region, the company said on Wednesday.

By Elizabeth Culliford

 

Misinformation, hate speech and calls for violence about the conflict have circulated on social media platforms amid the deadly fighting.

“This operations center allows us to closely monitor the situation so we can remove content that violates our community standards faster, while also addressing possible errors in enforcement,” Monika Bickert, Facebook’s vice president of content policy, told reporters on a conference call.

Facebook has previously set up similar operations centers to focus on situations like global elections.

Facebook spokesman Andy Stone told Reuters that Facebook’s head of global affairs, Nick Clegg, and other executives had on Tuesday spoken to Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh. Facebook executives previously met with Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz via Zoom, Politico reported last week.

A Reuters fact-checking team has debunked images shared on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram that falsely claim https://www.reuters.com/article/factcheck-gaza-child/fact-check-photo-shows-a-palestinian-child-mopping-up-cow-blood-in-his-parents-slaughterhouse-it-is-unrelated-to-the-current-violence-in-gaza-and-israel-idUSL2N2N627T to be related to the conflict.

The New York Times reported on Wednesday that Jewish extremists had formed new groups on WhatsApp, the Facebook-owned encrypted messaging service, for the purpose of committing violence against Palestinians.

“As a private messaging service, we do not have access to the contents of people’s personal chats though when information is reported to us, we take action to ban accounts we believe may be involved in causing imminent harm,” a WhatsApp spokesman said. “We also quickly respond to valid legal requests from law enforcement for the limited information available to us.”

Social media platforms have also faced accusations of censorship. Last week, BuzzFeed News reported that Facebook-owned Instagram had mistakenly removed content about al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem where Israeli security police clashed with worshippers.

The Thomson Reuters Foundation also reported that Instagram and Twitter Inc had blamed glitches https://reut.rs/3ouaf0t for the deletion of posts mentioning the possible eviction of Palestinians from East Jerusalem.

Facebook has banned Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas from its platform and removes content praising the group regarded by Israel, the United States and the European Union as a terrorist group.

Facebook’s Bickert said the new operations center was staffed by experts, including native Arabic and Hebrew speakers. California-based Facebook has been criticized in the past for lacking local language expertise and resources amid violent situations in other countries. (Reporting by Elizabeth Culliford in New York; Editing by Kenneth Li, Matthew Lewis and Howard Goller)

Gallery

Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Kanu Sukha says:

    How come the ‘mistaken’ or ‘glitched’ removal of content is invariably that of the subjugated group? Just because the US, Israel, and EU chose to ‘label’ an organisation ‘terrorist’, does not make it so ! Remember…not too long ago they also described the ANC so also… unless State Capture is?

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted

A South African Hero: You

There’s a 99.7% chance that this isn’t for you. Only 0.3% of our readers have responded to this call for action.

Those 0.3% of our readers are our hidden heroes, who are fuelling our work and impacting the lives of every South African in doing so. They’re the people who contribute to keep Daily Maverick free for all, including you.

The equation is quite simple: the more members we have, the more reporting and investigations we can do, and the greater the impact on the country.

Be part of that 0.3%. Be a Maverick. Be a Maverick Insider.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

MavericKids vol 3

How can a child learn to read if they don't have a book?

81% of South African children aged 10 can't read for meaning. You can help by pre-ordering a copy of MavericKids.

For every copy sold we will donate a copy to Gift of The Givers for children in need of reading support.