META will pull down ‘Zionist’ posts when used to threaten Jewish people

Facebook and Instagram parent company Meta Platforms Inc. will start removing more posts that attack “Zionism” or threaten its followers when the term is used to represent Jewish people or Israelis more generally.

Meta usually removes posts that attack a person based on a “protected characteristic,” such as their race, nationality or religion, though political affiliation doesn’t fall into that protected class.

While Zionism is considered by many to be a political movement to establish a formal Jewish state in the Middle East, the company said that people are also using the term to refer to Jewish or Israeli people more broadly.

“We will remove content attacking ‘Zionists’ when it is not explicitly about the political movement, but instead uses antisemitic stereotypes, or threatens other types of harm through intimidation, or violence directed against Jews or Israelis under the guise of attacking Zionists,” Meta wrote in a blog post.

Use of “Zionists” on Meta’s services was more formally reviewed over the last several months, though the company has considered how best to police the term for the past three years, said Neil Potts, vice president of public policy for Meta. Potts and colleagues have consulted 145 “stakeholders” over the past three years, including academics and civil rights experts from around the world, to help decide how to address the term on its platforms.

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