Meta takes steps to remove Hamas-related disinformation

Meta takes steps to remove Hamas-related disinformation

Technology

Content with blurred images of victims is still allowed

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STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Meta said on Friday it was taking steps including removing praise and substantive support for Hamas from its platforms after the European Union reprimanded social media companies for not doing enough to tackle disinformation.

Since Palestinian militant group Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7, misleading claims and doctored images have spread on Facebook and other social media.

In the three days after the attack, Meta said it removed or marked as disturbing more than 795,000 pieces of content in Hebrew or Arabic.

Meta is also temporarily expanding its violence and incitement policy and removing content that clearly identifies hostages taken by Hamas, even if it is being done to condemn or raise awareness of their situation.

Content with blurred images of victims is still allowed but the company will prioritise the safety and privacy of kidnapping victims if unsure or unable to make a clear assessment, it said.

Following the attack, Hamas has taken scores of Israeli and foreign hostages to the Palestinian enclave of Gaza.

Meta said it was aware of Hamas' threats to broadcast footage of the hostages and it would swiftly remove any such content and prevent copies being re-shared.

It is also lowering the threshold at which its technology takes action to avoid recommending content that potentially violates rules across its Facebook, Instagram and Threads platforms.

While Hamas is banned from the platforms, Meta allows social and political discourse - such as news reporting, human rights related issues, or academic, neutral and critical discussion.

The European Commission has pressured social media platforms to remove illegal and harmful content to comply with its Digital Services Act (DSA), a breach of which can result in big fines.

Meta's response contrasts with that of X, formerly known as Twitter, which has asked the Commission to provide more information of violations on its site. The Commission has opened an investigation into X.
 




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