Facebook to block posts attacking Jews as ‘Zionists’ – Journal Global Internet

Facebook will suppress attacks on Jewish people as “Zionists”, warning the term is used to mask anti-Semitism.

The social network said it will take down more posts that substitute the words “Jew” or “Israeli” for “Zionist”, other than in cases where the word is explicitly used to discuss Zionism as a political movement.

Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, already bans abuse based on protected characteristics such as a person’s race, sexuality or disability, although attacks on political positions and beliefs are allowed.

While Zionism originated as a political movement to establish a Jewish state in Palestine, Meta said the word “Zionist” was being used as a slur against Jews more generally.

Meta said it will target content that uses “anti-Semitic stereotypes, or threatens other types of harm through intimidation or violence directed against Jews or Israelis under the guise of attacking Zionists”.

Meta had previously barred specific phrases using the word “Zionist”, such as those comparing “Zionists” to “rats”, an anti-Semitic trope.

But the company said its current moderation rules did “not sufficiently address the ways people are using the term ‘Zionist’ online and offline”.

The World Jewish Congress said Meta’s decision “marks a significant step in combating the veiled anti-Semitism that has proliferated under the guise of political discourse”.

From now on, Meta will explicitly ban posts that claim “Zionists” are in control of the world or the media. It will also block posts that use the term to make dehumanising comparisons or call for physical harm.

The new policy could force a major change for how Meta handles complaints about anti-Semitic posts online.

The term “Zionist” has been widely used in protests – online and offline – against Israel’s actions during the war in Gaza. An estimated 38,000 Palestinians have been killed in the conflict, according to figures from the Hamas-run Gazan health ministry.

Meanwhile, a search for the term “Zionist” among hashtags on Instagram still showed recommendations including “#Zionistterror” and “#Zionistsarenazis”.

While the decision was welcomed by Jewish groups it has proved controversial among pro-Palestinian campaigners.

More than a dozen activist groups had signed an open letter to Mark Zuckerberg opposing the classification, arguing “Palestinians should be able to name the political ideology that impacts their survival without fearing reprisals”.

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Facebook to block posts attacking Jews as ‘Zionists’ – Journal Global Internet

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