LONDON: Facebook-owner Meta Platforms on Wednesday introduced temporary measures to limit “potentially unwelcome or unwanted comments” on posts about the conflict between Israel and Hamas.
Meta said it will change the default setting for people who can comment on new and public Facebook posts created by users “in the region” to only their friends and followers, Meta said in an updated blog post.
A Meta spokesperson declined to specify how the company defined the region. Users can opt-out and change the setting at any time, Meta said.
The social media company added it will disable the ability to see the first one or two comments on posts while scrolling the Facebook feed.
“Our policies are designed to keep people safe on our apps while giving everyone a voice.” Meta said.
“We apply these policies equally around the world and there is no truth to the suggestion that we are deliberately suppressing voice.”
Earlier this week, some users who posted in support for Palestine or Gaza citizens accused Meta of suppressing their content.
Meta designates Hamas as a “dangerous organization” and bans content praising the group.
Mondoweiss, a news website that covers Palestinian human rights, said on social media platform X on Oct. 10 that Instagram had twice suspended the profile of its video correspondent.
Other Instagram users reported their posts and stories about Palestine were not receiving views.
In a statement to Arab News, Meta denied allegations of censorship based on taking sides or silencing Palestinian voices.
They explained that the issue was caused by a now-fixed bug, which had been preventing re-posted content from appearing correctly in a user’s story.
“The suggestion that we’re trying to suppress a particular community or point of view is categorically untrue,” a spokesperson said.
“Our policies are designed to give everyone a voice while keeping people safe on our apps, and we apply these policies regardless of who is posting, or their personal beliefs.”
“This bug affected accounts equally around the globe – not only people trying to post about what’s happening in Israel and Gaza – and it had nothing to do with the subject matter of the content,” Meta added.
The decision coincides with the European Union giving Meta and TikTok a one-week ultimatum to furnish information about their efforts to combat the dissemination of terrorist, violent, and hate speech content on their platforms.
This ultimatum comes in light of the recently enacted Digital Services Act (DSA), which took effect in August.
According to the DSA, significant online platforms are now obligated to step up their efforts in removing unlawful and harmful content, or they could face fines of up to 6 percent of their global revenue.