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Warren, Sanders accuse Meta of blocking content related to Palestinians: ‘Deeply troubling’

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Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Tuesday accused Meta of suppressing Palestine-related content on its platforms, calling its actions “deeply troubling.”

Their letter, addressed to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, is a follow-up to a December one Warren sent that was also about Instagram and Facebook suppressing Palestinian content.

The senators say Meta’s response to the original letter “did not provide any of the requested information necessary” to understand the company’s treatment of Arabic language and Palestine-related matters versus other content.

“It is deeply troubling that Meta refuses to acknowledge and address the discriminatory nature of its content removal practices, despite being presented with a plethora of evidence to this effect,” Warren and Sanders wrote.

Warren’s original letter pressed Meta over its moderation of Palestinian content amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas war. Human rights and civil society organizations raised concerns about the company’s filtering, mistranslation and other issues since the start of the war in October.

Human Rights Watch released a report on Dec. 21 that found Meta suppressed or removed more than 1,000 expressions of “peaceful support of Palestinians” over both platforms in October and November.

The two progressives argue that “recent developments have only deepened our concerns.”

The letter noted Meta revisited its hate speech policy in relation to the term Zionist and a representative “justified the review” but did not “provide detail on the risk of stifling legitimate expression about political ideology or state politics.”

“These developments underscore the urgent need for improved transparency regarding censorship of information on Instagram and Facebook, two of the world’s largest social media giants,” the letter said.

It highlighted instances in which users who posted Palestine-related content have had their content and accounts blocked or restricted while facing complicated or nonexistent pathways to remedy the issue.

“It is imperative that Meta provide this information so the American people and their elected representatives can understand the impact of Meta’s policies on those communities and public debate,” the letter said.

The Hill has reached out to Meta for comment.

Warren and Sanders asked Zuckerberg to provide the answers to nearly 20 questions by April 8.

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