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Meta Oversight Board Announces Review of Moderation Policy for Arabic Word ‘Shaheed’

Meta Platforms’ oversight board said on Thursday it would review the moderation of the Arabic word “shaheed”, which means “martyr” in English, as it accounts for more content removals on its platforms than any other single word or phrase.

Meta has asked the board for advice on whether it should continue to remove posts that use the word “shaheed” to refer to individuals designated as dangerous, or use a different approach, the board said.

“This is a complex moderation issue that impacts how millions of people express themselves online and whether Muslim and Arabic-speaking communities are subject to over-enforcement of their content because of Meta’s enforcement practices,” said Thomas Hughes, director of oversight board administration.

Moderating the word may result in over-enforcement, particularly in Arabic-speaking countries, and could have an impact on news reporting in those regions, the board noted and called for public comments to assist with its deliberations.

The oversight board was created in late 2020 to review Facebook and Instagram‘s decisions on taking down or retaining certain content and make rulings on whether to uphold or overturn the social media company’s actions.

The board also said on Thursday it would look into a case related to a post calling for the “siege” of Brazil’s congress following the election of President Lula da Silva.

© Thomson Reuters 2023

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