Instagram, Twitter and TikTok users denounce censorship of Israeli posts
Instagram, Twitter and TikTok users highlight instances of post deletion and other forms of censorship after sharing content related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
A spokesman for Israel’s Justice Minister Benny Gantz told executives of Instagram, which owns Facebook, and Tik Tok at a Zoom meeting on Thursday that the current wave of violence was “intentionally stirred through social media by extremist elements ”vowed to harm Israel.
The spokesperson said the leaders expressed their commitment to act quickly and effectively to prevent incitement to hatred on their networks.
Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok all have policies against hateful behavior and posting that could result in harm or violence; businesses can remove or censor posts that violate their policies, and automated content moderation systems are known to sometimes cause errors.
But many social media users – several of whom have spoken to FOX Business – say companies are cutting their voices online.
Many users have complained about “shadowbanning,” a term used when social media companies remove or censor content that creators share with their followers without notifying them first. Others pointed to significant drops in views on political content compared to the daily content of the creators they usually publish.
“… I normally get around 24,000 views, and since I started posting about Israel overnight, they were immediately cut in half. This is what Instagram usually does when they cast a shadow.[ban]Dalia Oziel, a Jewish singer and Instagram influencer with over 36,000 followers, told FOX Business. [an Instagram] Reel on my page… talking about people who were banned from the shadows, and people were trying to add it to their story and tag me, and that wouldn’t let them. He said “download failed” and “try again”, and they tried without tagging my name and it worked. “
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She continued, “Instagram doesn’t allow him to reach the voices he needs. It’s unreal to know you don’t have free speech. It’s our right as Americans, but we don’t have it. “
A Facebook spokesperson said the company has “dedicated teams, including native speakers of Arabic and Hebrew, closely monitoring the situation on the ground.”
“We are focused on removing content that breaks our rules to help keep our community safe, while making sure people can continue to share what matters to them,” the spokesperson said.
Oziel shared screenshots of people struggling to share his Reel, which are videos Instagram users can edit and post through the app with music and graphics.
Another Jewish influencer and hairstylist, Penina Sebbag-Kunstler, who has more than 33,000 followers, shared similar concerns after she tried to repost something from the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) on Instagram.
“There was no Instagram post and there was no email, no alert, none of that. For me, I was reposting from IDF and Stand With Us [Instagram accounts]. I was sharing that too, as I had a few videos of myself talking about the situation… and then I woke up the next day, and my opinions were weirdly low, ”she said.
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She continued, “I’m an influencer, I post my work online every day, so I have a pretty good idea of what’s normal. I know in a certain amount of time how many views I’m going to get.”
Sebbag-Kunstler added that she believed Instagram banned it because it typically reaches between 10,000 and 20,000 users in a 12-hour window, but only reached half of those numbers on Wednesday.
Another user, @RememberMeHome, who shares recipes on her page, told FOX Business that she shared a political post among the various cooking videos and photos she shares on her Instagram story and said she was “shocked at my lack of sight. [numbers] and continued to refresh the page. “
Even the Israel Defense Forces shared on Twitter that they were having problems.
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An Instagrammer who wanted to remain anonymous uploaded a screen sharing video showing her trying to report Swastika comments on the app and immediately being returned to the app dashboard.
TikTok did not immediately respond to a request from FOX Business.
Twitter told FOX Business in a statement that it took no action against posts specifically related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“Standing up for and respecting the voices of the people who use our service is one of our core values on Twitter,” the company said, adding that the company uses both human and automated moderators to review content and in some cases, its automated systems may mistakenly take enforcement action thanks to an automated spam filter.
A Facebook spokesperson said “his thoughts are with all those affected by the horrific ongoing violence.”
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“We know there have been several issues that have affected people’s ability to share on our apps, including a technical bug that affected Stories worldwide, and an error that temporarily prevented content from being available. consulted.… Although both problems have been corrected, they should never have happened. We apologize to anyone who felt that they could not draw attention to important events or who felt that they were happening. “It was a deliberate suppression of their voice. It was never our intention,” said a spokesperson.
Israeli actress and author Noa Tishby told Fox Business that social media sites should monitor users and take action if necessary.
“As [actor] Sacha Baron Cohen said, it’s not the town square, it’s the biggest publisher[s] in the world ”, explained the author of“ Israel: A Simple Guide to the Most Misunderstood Country on Earth ”. . there must be some truth in the advertisements.
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She added, however, that social media companies “must in fact start to take responsibility for anti-Semitism. [on their platforms]. “
“They can no longer stand idly by. They are the biggest publisher[s] than anyone has ever seen, ”she said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.