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Antisemitism watchdog slams Meta’s move to end ban on ‘shaheed’

“This term is used to honor those who murder, maim and terrorize people around the world," says CAM CEO Sacha Roytman Dratwa.

Meta Platforms, Inc. Source: X.
Meta Platforms, Inc. Source: X.

The Combat Antisemitism Movement has condemned Meta’s Oversight Board’s recommendation to end its ban on the use of the Arabic word shaheed, or “martyr” in English, after a year-long review.

Meta currently removes any posts using shaheed in reference to people appearing on the company’s list of “dangerous organizations and individuals,” which includes members of Islamist terrorist organizations.

Meta owns and operates Facebook, Instagram, Threads and WhatsApp

“The word shaheed is an honorific term for murderers. The recommendation by Meta’s Oversight Board could be seen as giving a green light for the glorification of murder,” said CAM CEO Sacha Roytman Dratwa.

“This term is used to honor those who murder, maim and terrorize people around the world, from Osama bin Laden to the Hamas perpetrators of the October 7 massacre, and allowing its usage sends entirely the wrong signal.

“It is clear that social media platforms have been used as recruitment centers for terrorist organizations over the last few years, and social media companies should be working to prevent rather than assisting this process,” added Roytman Dratwa.

Last year, one of the 23 members of the Oversight Board, Khaled Mansour, told Al Jazeera that Meta’s shaheed policy blocks Palestinian freedom of expression.

Mansour, who is from Egypt, has a history of anti-Israel statements. In November 2022, he wrote “Damn the Zionists.” In 2019, he tweeted that “Israel exports oppression to the world.”

Mansour also shared posts from the Israeli-designated terrorist group and PFLP proxy Al Haq, as well as articles opposing the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism.

For years, anti-Israel groups have argued that Meta unjustly suppresses Palestinian content under campaigns such as “Meta, Let Palestine Speak” and “Facebook, Stop Censoring Palestine.” A key organizer is the terrorism-linked 7amleh, which has hosted the oversight board and has been featured at Oversight Board events alongside Mansour.

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