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Meta planning to ban use of word 'Zionist' under hate speech policy amid Israel-Gaza war

On Friday, Meta acknowledged that it is evaluating the use of the term "Zionist" as hate speech during the Israel-Hamas conflict. The company, which owns Facebook and Instagram, confirmed a report by The Washington Post stating that they are considering broadening their ban on hate speech to include instances where the term is used with negative intentions towards Jewish people or Israelis.

Published February 09,2024

Meta on Friday confirmed it is assessing when the word "Zionist" should be deemed hate speech amid the Israel-Hamas war.

The tech titan behind Facebook and Instagram confirmed a Washington Post report that it is thinking of expanding its hate speech ban to include more uses of the term, particularly when it appears to be an ill-spirited substitute for "Jews" or "Israelis."

"Given the increase in polarized public discourse due to events in the Middle East, we believe it's important to assess our guidance for reviewing posts that use the term Zionist," a Meta spokesperson said in response to an AFP query.

"While the term Zionist often refers to a person's ideology, which is not a protected characteristic, it can also be used to refer to Jewish or Israeli people."

Meta policy bans attacks on people based on religion or nationality, meaning the company faces the challenge of distinguishing when "Zionist" refers to ideology or a group of people.

Meta is honing how it applies the hate speech ban to posts with that word, according to the company.