As hate speech, Meta will now delete some postings that criticize “Zionists.”

November 3, 2023, at Meta Headquarters in Menlo Park, California.

As an extension of its existing hate speech policy, Meta stated on Tuesday that it will now delete postings that utilize the term “Zionist” in conjunction with dehumanizing or anti-Semitic rhetoric.

The choice was made after, according to the business, a months-long investigation into the term’s historical and contemporary usage on social media, especially in light of the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

Crowds are gathered outside of Meta Headquarters to protest Mark Zuckerberg and Meta's censoring about Palestine posts on social platforms in Menlo Park, California, on November 3, 2023.

In a blog post, Meta stated, “We have found that the current policy guidance does not sufficiently address the ways people are using the term ‘Zionist’ online and offline.” In the future, information that employs anti-Semitic stereotypes or threatens other forms of harm through intimidation or violence directed against Jews or Israelis under the cover of denouncing Zionists will be removed. This is because the content is not directly about the political movement.

The new strategy acknowledges that opponents of Israel occasionally use the term “Zionist,” which, when used narrowly, refers to the political movement advocating the establishment of a Jewish state, as a derogatory term. According to Meta, who outlined the findings of its platform research and its earlier this year conversations with outside experts, the word is occasionally used as a stand-in for the terms “Jew” or “Israeli,” especially in a negative context.

In order to reach its conclusion, Meta claimed to have consulted with over 145 historians, civil rights organizations, legal and human rights specialists, and proponents of free expression from all around the world.

The use of the term “Zionist” may now be in violation of Meta’s terms if it is used in conjunction with statements that seek to deny the existence of Jews, make anti-Semitic claims about Jews ruling the world, compare Jews to animals, or make fun of Jews for having a disease, Meta continued.

In addition, the firm reported that it requested guidelines on how to regulate remarks accusing organizations branded with “proxy terms for nationality (including Zionists)” of war crimes from its quasi-judicial review board.

Crowds are gathered outside of Meta Headquarters to protest Mark Zuckerberg and Meta's censoring about Palestine posts on social platforms in Menlo Park, California, on November 3, 2023.

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