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The Silence of Social Media: Meta Censorship of Palestine

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Social media platforms have long been hailed as spaces for connection, entertainment, and sharing joy. They serve as windows into the lives of others, allowing us to peer into the world and, at times, marvel at the experiences they offer. However, over the past few days, this narrative has taken a sad turn, as a wave of distressing news continues to flood in from Palestine.

In the digital age, social media plays a pivotal role in disseminating information. Meta, who knows this all too well, seems to be limiting any mentions of Palestine on its platforms. As a significant global event unfolds before our eyes, content creators and social media users have awakened to a disheartening reality—severe reductions in the reach of their content. What’s more troubling is the scarcity of attention this issue has received, with major tech news outlets remaining conspicuously silent on the shadowban affecting Palestine-related content.

This shadowban, which has gone largely unnoticed, involves Meta labeling content related to Palestine as “sensitive.” This tagging severely limits the number of people who can access and view such content. The labeling process is driven by picking up on keywords within the content and an analysis of the images accompanying the posts or Stories..

Overcoming the Shadowban:

In response to this situation, users have been experimenting with various methods to bypass the shadowban. Here are some strategies that have proven effective for those affected:

  • Adjust Sensitive Content Settings: Users can modify their account settings to allow sensitive content. By going to Settings > Suggested Content > Sensitive Content, you can change it to “More,” enabling you to view Palestine-related content.
  • Diversify Your Content: To break the cycle of censorship, it is advisable not to solely post about Palestine. Intermingle your posts with unrelated content to regain visibility in the Stories feed.
  • Create Original Content: Instead of merely sharing content from others, try to recreate and remix it to make it appear fresh. Original content is less likely to be flagged as sensitive.
  • Explore Alternative Platforms: Instead of relying solely on Meta-owned platforms like Instagram and Facebook, consider using platforms like X (Twitter) and Telegram, which have not imposed similar restrictions. These platforms are used by journalists for a reason. 
  • Engage Actively: Engaging with other content within the same topic can elevate your content’s visibility within the algorithm. Think of it as a way to “force” it to reach a broader audience.
  • Direct Sharing: Don’t limit yourself to Meta-owned channels or mainstream social media. Share your story through various networks and channels to ensure it’s heard widely.

Remember Your Humanity:

What is currently transpiring in Gaza is an affront to humanity. In times like these, it is imperative that we remember our shared humanity. Human lives are at stake, and as the world watches in pain, censorship is inexcusable. We must not allow the silencing of this critical issue.

The apparent shadowban on Palestine-related content on social media platforms raises significant concerns about censorship on a global scale. As users strive to overcome these limitations, the world must pay heed to the broader implications of such actions and champion the values of free expression and empathy in our interconnected digital age.

How Can You Help?

How can you make a difference? There are several humanitarian organizations that you can lend your support to.