Meta has warned that due to the sheer volume of posts on its platforms, some content may undergo temporary suppression or suspension while the company sorts through the massive amount of posts. Many supporters of the Palestinian cause have reported that their posts, even those not violating platform rules, have been suppressed or removed from Facebook and Instagram. Meta, the owner of these social networks, has stated that certain posts were hidden because of an accidental bug in their systems. In particular, messages expressing support for Palestinian civilians affected by Israeli airstrikes were inadvertently concealed. Some users have also claimed that Facebook suppressed accounts advocating for peaceful protests in various U.S. cities, including sit-ins in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Aya Omar, an artificial intelligence engineer, disclosed her inability to access Palestinian media accounts she regularly follows on Meta and Instagram due to the platforms blocking these accounts. Some users feel they are getting a sanitized version of events in Gaza, and there are allegations that posts about the historical context of Israel/Palestine are being actively blocked by Instagram and Facebook.
Meta has emphasized that some posts might be temporarily suppressed or suspended as part of their efforts to manage a high volume of reports related to graphic content. They mentioned that technical issues caused the suppression of posts that should have been widely visible and pointed out that this bug affected accounts worldwide, irrespective of content subject matter.
One hashtag, #Zionistigram, which was associated with posts critical of Instagram’s suppression of pro-Palestinian content, appeared to have been temporarily restricted over the weekend, yielding no search results for the term.
Many Palestinian supporters have turned to alternative platforms to convey their messages while criticizing Meta’s content moderation. LinkedIn, primarily used for professional networking, has seen an influx of posts critical of Israel’s response to Hamas and in support of civilian victims in Gaza. Users have also flooded the comments sections of widely-followed Instagram and Facebook accounts, seeking support for their respective causes. These comments are often copied and pasted to increase their visibility on Instagram and Facebook.
In a blog post, Meta stated that it applies its content policies evenly, aiming to provide everyone with a voice while ensuring safety on its apps. The company acknowledged that in times of global crisis and with a surge in reported content, there may be instances where content not violating policies is mistakenly removed.