Facebook is exposed to a campaign waged by pro-Palestinian activists
Pro-Palestinian activists run a coordinated campaign to lower app review ratings a company Facebook to protest against the company’s censorship of Palestinian accounts and publications.
The campaign, which is being shared on social media sites including Twitter and Facebook, invites people to give Facebook One star rating In Google and Apple app stores.
And the strategy appears to be working, as last week the average star rating for the social network dropped to 2.3 from 5 across the Apple App Store and 2.4 out of 5 via Google Play, after receiving thousands of 1-star reviews.
Many of the reviews include comments referring to Facebook silencing Palestinian voices and hashtags such as #FreePalestine or #GazaUnderAttack.
The campaign inside Facebook is taken very seriously, and it is classified as SEV1, which stands for “Severity 1, which is a description used internally when there is a major problem with the website,
The SEV1 rating is the second highest priority event after SEV0, which is used when a website is down.
“User confidence is dropping dramatically with the recent escalation between Israel and Palestine,” a senior software engineer said in a post on Facebook’s internal message board.
He added: Users are upset with the way we handle the situation, and they feel that they are being censored, that they are getting limited access, being silenced, and as a result, users have started protesting by leaving one-star ratings.
According to the leaked footage of the internal discussions, Facebook contacted app stores to ask if negative comments would be removed.
Apple refused, according to a Facebook employee who said it had contacted Apple’s developer relations team about this issue.
Facebook, Twitter and other social networks have been accused for years of monitoring Palestinian voices by removing pro-Palestinian posts and accounts.
Access Now, a non-profit organization that advocates for digital rights, documented numerous examples in a series of tweets on Twitter, including Instagram restricting the hashtag pointing to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the site of clashes between Israeli police and Palestinian worshipers earlier this month. In Twitter has restricted the account of the Palestinian-American writer Maryam Al-Barghouti.
Andy Stone, a Facebook spokesperson, said in a statement: Our policies are designed to give everyone a say while keeping our apps safe, and we apply these policies equally, regardless of who post or their personal beliefs.
He added: We have a specialized team, which includes Arabic and Hebrew speakers, that closely monitors the situation on the ground, and focuses on making sure that we remove harmful content, while addressing any application errors as quickly as possible.
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