Instagram, Twitter block, remove Palestinian posts

Occurred: May 2021

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Instagram and Twitter users are having their accounts closed and content and hashtags blocked when mentioning the possible eviction of Palestinians from East Jerusalem, and when sharing photos and videos of Israeli forces facing off with Palestinian residents.

Human and digital rights groups fear 'discriminatory' algorithms may be at work, accuse the social media companies of censorship, and are demanding greater transparency. 

Both companies later reversed course and reinstated the relevant accounts and content. Twitter blamed automated spam filtering software, while Instagram put the problem down to a 'technical bug'.

In October 2021, Facebook announced it will appoint independent, non-profit organisation BSR to conduct an investigation into the moderation of Arabic and Hebrew posts.

Operator: Meta/Facebook; Twitter
Developer: Meta/Facebook; Twitter
Country: Palestine; Israel  
Sector: Politics
Purpose: Review & moderate content
Technology: Content moderation system
Issue: Accuracy/reliability; Bias/discrimination - ethnicity; Freedom of expression - censorship
Transparency: Governance; Black box