Facebook employees accuse their company of bias against Arabs and Muslims

BuzzFeed revealed - in a report - the testimonies of employees inside Facebook, accusing the company of bias against Arabs and Muslims, coinciding with the recent Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip.

The report added that an Egyptian software engineer wrote a letter warning his colleagues of "Facebook's loss of trust among Arab users."

As proof of his words, the engineer included a screenshot of the Gaza Now page, a verified news outlet with nearly 4 million followers, and when liked, it triggered a "discouraging" pop-up message, titled " Before liking this Page," it read, "When you like a Page, you'll see updates from it in (News Feed). You may want to check out (Gaza Now) to see what types of content you usually share."

Al Jazeera verified this, and when I clicked the Like button on the Gaza Now page, that message actually appeared, as shown in the image below.

"I ran an experiment and tried to like as many Israeli news pages as possible, and I didn't receive a similar message once," the engineer wrote, noting that the company's systems were biased against Arabic content, and wondering if all these examples were the product of a "typical bias."

According to the report, this message raised the questions of his colleagues in the company, as one of them addressed the reason for placing a warning message on the post of actor Mark Ruffalo supporting Palestine via Instagram, while others commented on the deliberate ban of advertising campaigns from Islamic organizations.

Another employee said, "I'm afraid we have reached a point where the next mistake is the straw that breaks the camel's back, and we can see our communities migrate to other platforms."

According to the site, about 30 employees met earlier this month; To file internal appeals to restore banned content on Facebook and Instagram that is believed to have been improperly blocked or removed

One of the company's former employees, Ashraf Zaitoun, revealed that Facebook's appointment of a former adviser to the Israeli Prime Minister, Jordana Cutler, to serve as the head of public policy for the Middle East and North Africa, is one of the reasons why Facebook deliberately banned Palestinian content.

For his part, a Facebook spokesperson responded - in a statement to BuzzFeed - saying, "The role of our public policy team around the world is to help make sure that governments, regulators and civil society understand Facebook's policies, and in return make sure that we at Facebook understand the context of countries where we work,” noting that the company now has a member of the policy team “focusing on Palestine and Jordan.”

 

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