Mark Zuckerberg ‘censoring’ Palestine support? Meta employees pen letter to CEO - Hindustan Times
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Mark Zuckerberg ‘censoring’ Palestine support? Meta employees pen letter to CEO

May 05, 2024 03:00 AM IST

Meta employees penned their criticism of the company's apparent “bias and inequity” in addressing the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict.

Employees from Facebook's parent company, Meta, called out the tech giant's “censorship” of any signs of support for Palestinians amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict. In an open letter reportedly published earlier this week, a group of Meta employees addressed CEO Mark Zuckerberg, criticising the company's alleged active attempts at erasing “any open support for… Palestinian colleagues or the millions facing a humanitarian crisis in Palestine” on professional platforms such as Workplace, according to Business Insider.

FILE PHOTO: Meta's CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on online child sexual exploitation at the U.S. Capitol, in Washington, U.S., January 31, 2024. REUTERS/Nathan Howard/File Photo(REUTERS)
FILE PHOTO: Meta's CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on online child sexual exploitation at the U.S. Capitol, in Washington, U.S., January 31, 2024. REUTERS/Nathan Howard/File Photo(REUTERS)

Per the accusations made by Meta employees, their previously internally circulated letter, dated December 19, 2023, was “deleted and dismissed due to our Community Engagement Expectations (CEE)," implying that all sorts of discussions on the matter had been prohibited even internally. As a result, these Meta employees addressed this “follow-up” to the Meta CEO and leadership externally.

Seeking more inclusivity on the matter to discuss the humanitarian issue, the employees wrote in their public letter, “Any open support for our Palestinian colleagues or the millions facing a humanitarian crisis in Palestine is met with internal censorship of employee concerns, biased leadership statements showing one-sided support, and external censorship that is raising public alarm and distrust of our platforms.”

Also read | Northern Gaza in ‘full-blown famine’, says UN food program chief

Blowing the lid off “the months of silencing” that had been pushed internally within their workplace forums, these employees called out the outward “Your voice is valued” guise adopted by CEE. Meta employees also pointed out that CEE was merely being used as a sanctioning excuse “to delete dissenting opinions and silence employees that may simply be seeking solace from their coworkers or raising awareness about building safer products.”

Furthermore, the employees emphasised how many of them felt “disrupted, unheard and unsafe” to the extent that they even resigned from their stations. They painstakingly noted how, according to a former employee, any mention of Palestine was eventually erased.

What's Meta and Mark Zuckerberg's stand in the Israel-Hamas conflict?

The employees clearly stated in their letter open letter that Meta leaders have positively demonstrated support for their Israeli colleagues and condemned the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel (leading to around 1200 killings in Southern Israel), on internal and external platforms. They even brought one of Zuckerberg's Facebook statements to the forefront.

“The terrorist attacks by Hamas are pure evil. There is never any justification for carrying out acts of terrorism against innocent people. The widespread suffering that has resulted is devastating. My focus remains on the safety of our employees and their families in Israel and the region," the Meta CEO wrote on Facebook.

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Bringing this divide to the forefront, the employees criticised the company's “bias and inequity,” vis-a-vis the lack of condemnation of attacks on Palestine. Those who have previously attempted to articulate their thoughts on the supposed “hostile and unsafe work environment for… Palestinian, Arab, Muslim, anti-Zionist Jew, and anti-genocide colleagues at the company” have witnessed an erasure on Workplace. In addition to the mentioned censorship, some employees have even been reportedly rebuffed and/or penalised, while their addressed feedback on the official forum's Chat was dismissed.

According to a Thursday report by the United Nations Development Program and the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, the “productive basis of the economy has been destroyed” in Palestine due to Israel's ongoing occupation of the Gaza Strip, which has also resulted in a concerning escalation of poverty among Palestinians.

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