“In response to the violence, we are working to make sure our services are a safe place for our community,” Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone said. “We will continue to remove content that violates our Community Standards, which do not allow hate speech or incitement to violence, and will proactively explain and promote dialogue on these policies to policymakers.”
Facebook’s meeting with Gantz also included the company’s public policy director for Israel and the Jewish diaspora, Jordana Cutler, a former adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and former Likud staffer. The company confirmed that it will dispatch Azzam Alameddin, Facebook’s public policy director for the Middle East and North Africa region, to its online meeting with the Palestinian Authority.
Facebook is under fire in the U.S. for enabling the spread of misinformation and threats to violence; it suspended the account of former President Donald Trump when he expressed support for the Capitol Hill rioters on Jan. 6, and his account remains suspended as Facebook reviews a recent decision from the Facebook oversight board. The company is facing similar pressures in Israel and the Palestinian territories as officials of both governments claim the other side is amplifying lies and stoking xenophobic fears on the platform.
Facebook has already faced fury this week over numerous instances in which the company took down posts from Palestinian activists and citizens, including content about Al-Aqsa Mosque, one of Islam’s holiest sites.
TikTok executives also participated in the meeting with Gantz, and a company spokesperson said it already removed content in the region that violates its policies against violence, hate speech and hateful behavior.
Twitter spokesperson Katie Rosborough said the company was being “vigilant” about taking down posts that violate its rules against hateful content. Twitter did not attend the recent meeting with Gantz.
Google’s YouTube did not immediately respond to requests for comment about whether it had plans to meet with Israeli or Palestinian officials.
All of the platforms have spent years instituting more aggressive policies against hate speech and incitements to violence, but the latest clash between Israelis and Palestinians will test the limits of those rules and moderation capacity as the sides disagree vehemently over basic facts of the conflict.
Palestinian health officials reported more than 122 deaths and 900 injuries by Friday afternoon, while Israel continued to pummel Gaza with tank fire and air strikes. Hamas has continued to send rockets into Israeli cities, including Tel Aviv, and violence has continued within Israel as Jewish and Arab mobs clash nightly. It is the most serious violence in the region in years, and a significant early test for President Joe Biden and his administration.
Biden and his advisers have called for both governments to deescalate the violence, although Biden said Israel has a “right to defend itself” amid the rocket attacks.
“We believe Palestinians and Israelis deserve equal measures of freedom, security, dignity and prosperity,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said this week.
The White House has been facing escalating pressure from progressive Democrats like Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) who say the U.S. needs to do more to defend the rights of Palestinians.
“Israeli forces are forcing families from their homes during Ramadan and inflicting violence,” said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). “It is inhumane and the US must show leadership in safeguarding the human rights of Palestinians.”
Facebook-Meta Earns the ‘Worst Company of 2021’ Title in This Survey
Facebook parent Meta has been named the Worst Company of the Year (2021) by Yahoo Finance respondents. According to the publication, an “open-ended” survey was published on Yahoo Finance on December 4 and 5, where 1,541 respondents participated. Facebook received 8 percent of the write-in vote, but respondents were seemingly mad about the Robinhood trading app as well. Electric truck startup Nikola, which was named last year’s worst company by the same publication also faced respondents ire.
Yahoo Finance even highlights, “At the same time, some critics, including conservatives, say Facebook over-policed the platform’s speech and stifled their voices.” Critics also blame Facebook and other social media platforms for not curbing hate speech that led to Capitol Building riots.
However, around 30 percent of Yahoo Finance readers said that Facebook or Meta could redeem itself. One respondent suggested that the company could issue a formal apology for negligence and donate a sizable amount of its profits to a foundation to help reverse its harm.
On the other hand, respondents chose Microsoft as the Company of the Year (2021). The Satya Nadella-led company touched the trillion-mark this year and introduced notable upgrades. The most notable is the Windows 11 OS update that succeeds Windows 10.
Facebook pays 1.7 Cr fine to Russia after failing to delete content Moscow deems illegal
In the latest legal tussle with Russia over controversial social media regulation laws, Facebook paid 17 million roubles (Rs 1.7 Crore) for failing to remove content deemed illegal by Moscow. With a threat of potential larger fines looming, Facebook parent company Meta, owned by Mark Zuckerberg, is scheduled to face court next week over repeated violations of Russian legislation on content, Interfax News Agency reported. As per the latest updates, the social media giant could be fined a percentage of its annual revenue.
In October, Moscow sent state bailiffs to enforce the collection of 17 million roubles. Meanwhile, as per Interfax report citing a federal bailiffs’ database, on Sunday, there were more enforcement proceedings against the company. Apart from the popular social media app, Telegram has also paid 15 million roubles in fines for failing to comply with the Russian social media legislations that came into force in 2016.
Facebook pays $53k to Russia for refusing controversial social media laws
It is pertinent to mention that Facebook has locked horns with Moscow earlier in November, resulting in it paying 4 million roubles ($53,000) over its refusal to adhere to Russian data localisation laws, the Moscow Times reported. The Moscow court on November 25 had said that Facebook paid the fine levied in February, following which all proceedings against the US-based social media giant. The payment comes against the litigation filed against the company in 2018, alongside Twitter. The tech companies were also forced to pay an additional 3000 rubles ($40) for failing to comply with user data sharing rules as per the law. The Russian authorities have also previously blocked LinkedIn, owned by Microsoft, for failing to abide by the laws.
Russian social media laws
As per Moscow Times, under the Russian social media regulation laws, all foreign technology companies are required to store data related to Russian customers and users on servers located in Russia. Additionally, the Russian tech companies will also have to share encryption data with the federal authorities as well as record user calls, messages and civil society group conversation records. The apparatus is said to be a severe breach of privacy rights and unfettered back-door access to personal data that could be used to harass Kremlin critics.
Facebook Messenger Is Launching a Split Payments Feature for Users to Quickly Share Expenses
Meta has announced the arrival of a new Split Payments feature in Facebook Messenger. This feature, as the name suggests, will let you calculate and split expenses with others right from Facebook Messenger. This feature essentially looks to bring an easier method to share the cost of bills and expenses — for example, splitting a dinner bill with friends. Using this new Split Payment feature, Facebook Messenger users will be able to split bills evenly or modify the contribution for each individual, including their own.
The company took to its blog post to announce the new Split Payment feature in Facebook Messenger. 9to5Mac reports that this new bill splitting feature is still in beta and will be exclusive to US users at first. The rollout will begin early next week. As mentioned, it will help users share the cost of bills, expenses, and payments. This feature is especially useful for those who share an apartment and need to split the monthly rent and other expenses with their mates. It could also come handy at a group dinner with many people.
With Split Payments, users can add the number of people the expense needs to be divided with and, by default, the amount entered will be divided in equal parts. A user can also modify each person’s contribution including their own. To use Split Payments, click the Get Started button in a group chat or the Payments Hub in Messenger. Users can modify the contribution in the Split Payments option and send a notification to all the users who need to make payments. After entering a personalised message and confirming your Facebook Pay details, the request will be sent and viewable in the group chat thread.
Once someone has made the payment, you can mark their transaction as ‘completed’. The Split Payment feature will automatically take into account your share as well and calculate the amount owed accordingly.
Tasneem Akolawala is a Senior Reporter for Gadgets 360. Her reporting expertise encompasses smartphones, wearables, apps, social media, and the overall tech industry. She reports out of Mumbai, and also writes about the ups and downs in the Indian telecom sector. Tasneem can be reached on Twitter at @MuteRiot, and leads, tips, and releases can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.