Meta says it will remove a wider swath of hate speech posts targeting ‘Zionists’

In this file photo from March 13, 2019, Facebook, Messenger and Instagram apps are displayed on an iPhone in New York. (AP/Jenny Kane)
In this file photo from March 13, 2019, Facebook, Messenger and Instagram apps are displayed on an iPhone in New York. (AP/Jenny Kane)

Social media giant Meta announces that it will ban derogatory or threatening references to “Zionists” in cases where the term is used to refer to Jews or Israelis rather than supporters of the movement to establish a Jewish polity.

The change means that posts on Facebook and Instagram will now be removed if moderators determine they use “antisemitic stereotypes, or threaten other types of harm through intimidation or violence directed against Jews or Israelis under the guise of attacking Zionists,” Meta says in a blog post.

Under Meta’s hate speech policy, users are not allowed to attack people on the basis of characteristics such as race, ethnicity, religious affiliation, disability and gender identity. Existing rules already prohibited using the word “Zionist” to refer to Jews or Israelis in two narrowly defined situations. Meta said that those rules didn’t account for the broad range of ways that people use the term.

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