Monday, June 17, 2024

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How Social Media Takes Sides Against “Al-Aqsa Flood”?

“What we write will not come.” With these words, Palestinian journalist Nisreen Al-Rasaina revealed that her Facebook page was being deleted after she started reporting what was happening in her homeland since Israel launched an attack on Gaza. In response to the Hamas attack, “Hamas” called the “Al-Aqsa Flood”.

Al-Razaina told Asharq Al-Awsat that Palestinian content is deleted, and her posts do not reach followers or images of children who are particularly violent by the Israeli military, a so-called “lack of access”. At the same time, she confirmed that she had received messages about restrictions from the site.

Last week, followers on Facebook and Instagram criticized the Meta-owned sites for removing content supporting the Palestinian cause, as they have become arenas for shaping public opinion. Over the past two days, several followers have posted a duplicate message indicating that many of friends’ posts are being lost and demanding that Facebook modify its algorithms, which read: “(Facebook) only shows it to friends. Chooses, and doesn’t need (Facebook) to choose our friends, and is beyond its policy of control and regulation.

Media reports said hashtags related to “Hamas” and “Al-Aqsa flood” were covered, while the death toll in the Gaza Strip as a result of Israeli bombing rose to 2,215, including 724 children. According to the latest figures reported by the Hamas Ministry of Health. “, Saturday morning.

Anas al-Qassas, an expert on international and strategic affairs and international conflict issues, faced restrictions on his Facebook account in recent days after posting a link to a Politico magazine story about fake news related to the Israeli occupation of Gaza. Al-Awsad: “I got a message. Two-day restriction…algorithms are crazy.”

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However, the researcher tried to avoid publishing any information or posts in support of this case to avoid suspension of his account on the Facebook site. Control, except that there are my posts… There are only two options available, this is not the norm.

The political researcher believes that this restriction undermines respect for the Facebook site’s followers, which is evidence of a double standard in allowing the publication of content promoting an Israeli point of view. He said: “I’ve been with (Facebook) for 16 years and this ban has never happened before.” ».

Asharq Al-Awsat said that video blogger Nada Al-Shabrawi, who publishes content related to books on various platforms under the channel “Douda Bookworm”, uploaded a video on the site “Instagram” addressing the Palestinian issue. The video was deleted 3 times, and the sound was turned off, and I tried again to post the video.

In a related context, Asharq al-Awsad tried to post a link to a topic related to children in war on the Instagram platform, and a message appeared: “We ban certain actions to protect our society.”

A message appears from Instagram saying that publishing a link to a press story about Gaza (Asharq al-Awsad) is prohibited.

* Actions… or Prevention?

US tech giant Metta, which owns social networking site Facebook, has said it will take more action against the publication of illegal and misleading content on the internet following the outbreak of the conflict in Gaza.

Yesterday (Friday), the German news agency reported that in the first three days following the attack by Hamas militants, the agency removed 795,000 pieces of content or classified it as offensive in both Hebrew and Arabic for violation. Policies and directives.. “Compared to the previous two months, in the three days following October 7, we removed 7x more content daily for violating our Dangerous Companies and Individuals policy in Hebrew and Arabic alone,” Meta explained.

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Meta added that it is particularly wary of Facebook and Instagram, where Hamas has threatened to show hostages on these sites. The company said it has imposed restrictions on some users who have previously violated the site’s policies.

In a related context, the Elon Musk-owned site “X” announced that it had removed or classified “tens of thousands” of posts in the days following the Hamas attack on Israel. The company’s CEO, Linda Yaccarino, wrote in a letter dated Wednesday; In response to criticism from the European Union in this regard: “After the terrorist attack on Israel, we have taken steps to remove or classify tens of thousands of posts.” The letter was sent to EU Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton, who criticized Musk on social media on Tuesday.

In the letters he sent Tuesday to Musk and Mark Zuckerberg, the “Meta” group that includes Facebook and Instagram, Broughton demanded they provide details within 24 hours on how to remove “illegal content and misinformation.” According to Agence France-Presse, the EU’s new digital services comply with the law from their sites.

Despite these “measures” taken by digital platforms, a report by Agence France-Presse said the amount of misinformation and the speed with which it spread online following the week-long standoff was unprecedented. The conflict between Israel and Hamas provides a stark examination of the waning ability of major platforms like Facebook and X to combat disinformation, the agency said, citing experts.

*Dependent mechanisms

Additionally, Amr al-Iraqi, a faculty member at the School of International Affairs and Public Policy at the American University in Cairo, says that the restriction on content related to the Palestinian issue reveals a clear ideological bias of these sites. , describing Hamas as a terrorist movement facing a conventional army, that is… the Israeli army. Al-Iraqi added in a statement to Asharq Al-Awsat that this restriction confirms that these sites are not a good source of information, especially in times of crisis and conflict, and when they are affected by political polarization.

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Al-Iraqi says that algorithms are like a mathematical equation, whose conditions are set according to the biases of whoever enters the inputs, sites like “Facebook” are not neutral sites, and the real crisis is what these algorithms do. Our relationships, circles of friends, and our biases don’t work, so they aren’t social media platforms in the truest sense. Indeed, it reveals the biases of its authors who have already expressed their biases in the ongoing conflict. .

In recent days, Al-Iraq has observed Kurdish content appearing in “proposals” supporting the Israeli narrative of aggression against the Gaza Strip, indicating that this is part of the psychological warfare that Israel has been waging lately. The morale of its players.

But what is the solution? Another site? Al-Iraq responded to this question by saying that any community has the right to create its own platform, but the crisis is in diffusion and influence, because “Facebook” has a large market value and a profit model established for 20 years. Previously, there were new sites that appeared and disappeared recently and were not received. Continuity gained by Facebook and Instagram.

Nadia Barnett
Nadia Barnett
"Award-winning beer geek. Extreme coffeeaholic. Introvert. Avid travel specialist. Hipster-friendly communicator."

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