Instagram labeled one of the holiest mosques in Islam as a terrorist organization

Instagram deleted posts և blocked hashtags about one of Islam’s holiest mosques because its content measurement system mistakenly linked the site to a company-designated designation for terrorist organizations, according to an internal staff statement seen by BuzzFeed News. The mistake is simply the failure of the latest content moderation by Instagram և its parent company Facebook, which has faced accusations from users around the world that it is censored content about Israeli aggression to the Palestinians.

An erroneous display of an internal flag by concerned workers on Tuesday prompted Instagram to remove or block hashtags for the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third sacred site of the Islamic faith. The mosque has been there since Friday place of collision Among the “Palestinians” of the Israeli police, many of whom visited the site in the last days of Ramadan to pray.

In an attempt to draw attention to the violence, Instagram users posted videos tagged with the hashtag #AlAqsa or its Arab counterparts # الاقصى or # الأقصى, only to find out that their posts were taken or hidden from search results. Some notifications indicate that Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, has removed the posts because they were linked to “violence or dangerous organizations.” When employees learned of the relocations and their justifications, some filed internal complaints.

In one case, an employee found that Instagram had removed an infographic describing the situation in Al-Aqsa because of its connection to “violence or a terrorist organization.” After the employee filed a complaint, they wrote in their internal post that they were informed that the photo was taken “based on a link from the designated organization ‘alaqsa,'” a Facebook term that refers toDangerous individuals և organizations“(After the complaint, the content was finally restored).

“Both of these mistakes, many of which are completely unacceptable,” a Facebook employee wrote on the internal communications platform on Tuesday. “Al-Aqsa is the third holiest place in Islam, the center of faith for about 1.8 billion people.”

Facebook’s censorship of Al-Aqsa posts comes amid growing tensions and violence in the region. Till now Fifty-three Palestinians, including more than a dozen children, six Israelis have been killed and more than 300 injured since fighting broke out last week. As people used Instagram և Facebook to spread information about the area, from the forcible deportation of Palestinians to the Sheikh Arrrah district of East Jerusalem to the city of Al-Aqsa, some found their messages blocked or deleted.

Critics’ failures to measure even the latest Facebook content for some employees show the American company’s misunderstanding բաց lack of resources և show how even careless mistakes can have a big impact when its products are used by more than 3 billion people around : the world.

Facebook has said before Middle East News National Al-Aqsa hashtag posts were “restricted by mistake”, but an internal post by BuzzFeed News on Wednesday went further, noting that the content had been removed because “Al-Aqsa” “also The name of the organization punished by the United States government«

A Facebook spokesman declined to comment on Wednesday’s internal statement.

Last week, Palestinian Instagram users also complained that Instagram stories, or transient videos and images that aired on the platform 24 hours a day, were being removed. On Friday, the company attributed the mistake to a social media bug that affected users sharing stories around the world.

These mistakes have caused concern among some Facebook employees. In a post over the weekend, an employee in the internal group wrote that “the external perception is FB, silencing the political speech in time to apologize later.”

“Some of them are human review errors, while others are automated. I do not know which is more common, but why decision-makers can not use local experience. [Middle East and North Africa] region, such as Public Policy or Comer, consult with them before deciding to remove sensitive hashtags or political content, ”they wrote before posting screenshots of various users complaining that their Instagram posts had been censored. They also noted that Instagram users around the world had launched a campaign to give a bad rating to Instagram apps in the Google Play Store.

In response, Guy Rosen, Facebook’s vice president of integrity, wrote a day later that the company has teams that “cause any problems, clear blocks.”

Those efforts, however, did not prevent the continued removal of content about the Al-Aqsa Mosque, where clashes erupted last Friday when Israeli police attacked Palestinians. who had gathered to watch Muslim Ramadan on the last Friday of the month. Complaints about content censorship under al-Aqsa hashtags continued until Tuesday, when an employee reported wrongful dismissal.

There is an armed Palestinian coalition on the West Bank known as the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, which the United States, the European Union, and other similar organizations, such as the Al-Aqsa Foundation, consider a terrorist organization. The US government is considered part of its support network, A critical Facebook employee said that this is not an excuse to censor the hashtags of Al-Aqsa Mosque.

“If there was a designated group of posts called ‘Washington mess’ that simply mentioned the word ‘Washington’s overthrow’, it would be completely unacceptable,” they wrote. “I really want to emphasize that this part of our user base already feels alienated, censored, and after having so many problems, be they technical or productive, our users will no doubt benefit us.”

On Wednesday, an employee of the company’s Dangerous Organizations և Individuals Policy Team wrote in an internal post that the term “Al-Aqsa” (الأقصى) “should not violate our policies.”

“As many of you have rightly pointed out, just using the same name as a designated organization does not make a place and an organization the same,” they wrote. “Our policy does not require moving people, places or things that simply have a name with that designated organization. “So any relocation based solely on the name of the mosque is certainly a mistake; they should never have happened in our policy.”

Others were less confident in Facebook’s internal explanation. Ashraf Itoun, who was in charge of Middle East and North Africa policy from 2014 to mid-2017, said the company employs some of the world’s top terrorism experts, who can certainly distinguish Al-Aqsa from Al-Aqsa’s martyrdom. brigades.

“For them to go and find a word with a two-word name that is associated with a terrorist organization is a lame excuse,” he said, noting that he is involved in developing a policy on how the company refers to terrorist groups and their content. “They are better than they are.”

Zeitoon noted that the internal fear of undermining Israeli interests on Facebook ելու reporting content as possible Al-Aqsa videos հավանական may be the reason for the removal of the pictures.

In response, a Facebook spokesman told BuzzFeed News that Al-Aksa’s content was restricted because of human error and not because of any government request.

The removal and blocking of some Palestinian content by Facebook has caused social media workers to raise their voices internally. At a regular public meeting on Thursday, which is expected to be chaired by CEO Mark Uck Uckerberg, some employees began to reject a question he was asking. What are we going to do about it? ”

The question is low on the list of top questions, at least behind three different questions related to Facebook’s homework policy, one that’s wondering when Mark uck uckerberg will host Live on Saturday night, last weekend after attending a pop show by Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

In another question, an employee asked if Facebook would move its regional office from Tel Aviv, which some Palestinian-American employees cannot access due to Israeli restrictions. Noting that Human Rights Watch had appointed Israel as an apartheid state, they asked if Facebook would ever reconsider its location in the Israeli city.

A Facebook spokesman declined to comment.

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