Facebook staff call for review of pro-Palestinian content policies

They aren't satisfied with current solutions.

Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Facebook employees might not be satisfied with the company's fairness toward Palestinian content. The Financial Times reports that nearly 200 Facebook staffers have signed an open letter asking the company to address concerns that moderation tools might suppress pro-Palestinian content. The letter supporters want management to request an independent audit of moderation around Arab and Muslim content, check for possible biases in moderation, and have the Oversight Board review a post from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu labeling Palestinian civilians as terrorists.

The employees also want Facebook to hire more Palestinian workers, share more data on government-backed takedown requests, and clear up policies on anti-Semitic hate speech.

Facebook said in a statement that it had fixed "several issues" with sharing across apps, referencing concerns that reshared stories weren't getting equal treatment compared to originals. The company didn't address the specific concerns from the letter, but said its policies were meant to "give everyone a voice" and were applied "equally."

There's no guarantee Facebook will respond to the letter. However, it comes as tech giants have faced increasing pressure to respond to staff complaints about unfair policies. Google said it would investigate the departure of Dr. Timnit Gebru after over 5,000 employees signed a letter showing concerns about her exit, for instance. While Facebook has already changed its approach to a degree, it might face a backlash if it doesn't satisfy the open letter's supporters.