Instagram removed the platform, restricted posts, and banned hashtags related to one of the holiest Islamic mosques because its content management system mistakenly linked the place to a classification the company maintains for terrorist organizations.
The mistake represents a new supervisory failure by Instagram and its parent company Facebook, which has faced accusations from users around the world of censoring content related to Israeli aggression against Palestinians.
In an internal letter to the company, the leader of the company’s risky organizations and personnel policy team called the removal operations errors of implementation after the platform’s supervisors confused his name with a group designated as a terrorist organization.
And provided a company Facebook owns the Instagram platform a copy of the internal post, and the employee wrote within it: While Al-Aqsa refers to a location, it is also listed in the names of many banned organizations, however, this term should not violate our policies.
Reported Reports That there is an armed group known as the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades that the United States and the European Union consider a terrorist entity, and other groups with similar names are part of their support network by the US government.
The removal of the leaflets comes at a time when the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in the Islamic faith, was at the center of the clashes between the Israeli police and the Palestinians, many of whom went to the mosque to pray on the last days of Ramadan.
Some notices showed that Instagram removed the posts because they were linked to violence or dangerous organizations, and when employees learned of the removals and the justifications behind them, some of them filed internal complaints.
One Facebook employee wrote via an internal communications platform: These and many other errors are unacceptable. Al-Aqsa is the third holiest site in Islam and is an essential aspect of faith for nearly 1.8 billion people.
Reported newspaper The Guardian says this is part of a broader escalating crisis that has claimed the lives of at least 72 people in Gaza, including 16 children.
When trying to share footage highlighting the violence in the mosque, Instagram users found their posts were blocked or removed entirely.
Given that people use Instagram and Facebook to spread information, from the forced evictions of Palestinians in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem to the violence in Al-Aqsa, some have found that their posts have been blocked or removed.
The internal publication stated: We have never classified Al-Aqsa Mosque according to the policy of dangerous organizations, but rather an organization bearing the name of Al-Aqsa, and the removals that are based on mentioning the name of the mosque only are definitely executive mistakes and should not happen under our policies.
The post added: Facebook is legally obligated to remove posts that support or represent organizations against which the United States imposes sanctions, although it will not remove news reports or condemn such groups.
Facebook updated its directives to supervisors, removing the term Al-Aqsa from the list of moderators and replacing it with a pseudonym more describing the sanctioned organization.
The blocked hashtag is “”#AlAqsa“written in Arabic, the third holiest mosque in Islam that Palestinian folks got stun-grenaded & tear-gassed at during their Ramadan prayer earlier today.
– Rami Ismail (Rami) (@tha_rami) May 8, 2021
Topics of interest to the reader