Meta’s Oversight Board will rule on ‘from the river to the sea’

The company's moderators found that the Facebook posts didn't break its rules.

Thierry Monasse via Getty Images

Meta’s Oversight Board is taking up a new set of cases that touch on the commentary surrounding the Israel-Hamas conflict. The board says it will review three cases involving Facebook posts that used the phrase “from the river to the sea.”

Though use of the slogan predates the current conflict by several decades, it’s received renewed attention and scrutiny since the October 7 attacks. “On the one hand, the phrase has been used to advocate for the dignity and human rights of Palestinians,” the board writes in a statement. “On the other hand, it could have antisemitic implications, as claimed by the users who submitted the cases to the Board.”

The board notes that in all three cases, Meta found that the posts didn’t violate its policies around promoting violence, hate speech or terrorist content. The Oversight Board says it will “consider how Meta should moderate the use of the phrase given the resurgence in its use after October 7, 2023, and controversies around the phrase’s meaning.”

It's not the first time the Oversight Board has considered cases related to the Israel-Hamas conflict. The group previously took on a pair of cases on the removal of posts about the October 7 attacks and a subsequent airstrike in Gaza. In those cases, the group’s first-ever “expedited reviews,” the board blamed Meta’s automated moderation tools for mistakenly removing posts that should have been left up.

Notably, the board says all three posts in its latest cases were originally shared last November. And, unlike the earlier cases related to the conflict, the Oversight Board won’t be expediting its decisions. That means it could be several weeks before a decision is published. Meta will then have 60 days to respond to any policy recommendations that come out of the case.