Meta Oversight Board to review content with ‘from the river to the sea’ 


Meta’s Oversight Board will review three Facebook posts that included the phrase “from the river to the sea” that the social media company ruled to keep up on the platform, the board announced Tuesday.  

The phrase pre-dates the current conflict, but the three posts under review were published on Facebook in November, following the Hamas terrorist attacks in Israel on Oct. 7 and Israel’s military action in Gaza.  

The board said it selected the cases in order to 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.” 

“On the one hand, the phrase has been used to advocate for the dignity and human rights of Palestinians. On the other hand, it could have antisemitic implications, as claimed by the users who submitted the cases to the Board,” the board said. 

Each of the posts included the phrase “from the river to the sea,” and were reported by Meta users for violating the company’s community standards but the platform ruled that they should be left up on Facebook.  

Users who reported the content and appealed to the board said the phrase broke Meta’s rules on hate speech, violence and incitement, or dangerous organizations and individuals, according to the board.

In a blog post, Meta said it determined the three pieces of content the board is reviewing did not violate those policies.  

A Meta spokesperson said in a statement to The Hill, “we welcome the board’s review of our guidance in this matter.” 

“While all of our policies are developed with safety in mind, we know they come with global challenges and we regularly seek input from experts outside Meta, including the Oversight Board. As we’ve said previously, we continually assess our policy guidance to better understand potential impacts on different communities. This work is ongoing, and we look forward to the board’s decision and recommendations,” the spokesperson added.  

Facebook must follow the board’s decision even if it overturns the initial ruling Facebook made.  

The board, which is run independently from Meta and funded by a grant provided by the company, can also offer non-binding policy recommendations. If adopted, the recomendations could have far reaching impacts on how the phrase is used on Meta’s platforms. 

As part of its decision, the board is accepting public comments for 14 days.  

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