Meta Oversight Board’s decision on ‘shaheed’ will encourage online terrorism

New Delhi, March 27 (IANS) Meta’s decision to lift the ban on the Arabic word ‘shaheed’ may result in the increase of terror-related content online, warned CyberWell, a tech nonprofit. The Oversight Board asked Meta to end the ban following a year-long review, citing freedom of expression concerns.

According to CyberWell founder Tal-Or Cohen Montemayor, the removal of the ban could lead to the proliferation of pro-terror content on Meta’s platforms. The Board’s decision may result in the romanticization of terrorism online, he stated.

The nonprofit organization focused on monitoring and combating antisemitism on social media highlighted that a significant percentage of online antisemitism in Arabic language endorse violence and attacks against Jews. The decision to allow the use of ‘shaheed’ for non-armed members of designated terror organizations could further amplify the issue.

CyberWell’s latest data indicates that after a terrorist event on October 7, a large portion of verified online antisemitism in Arabic language supported violence and justified attacks against Jews. The Oversight Board’s decision could potentially facilitate the spread of pro-terror content and expand the supporter base on social media platforms.

In response, Meta’s Oversight Board has loosened restrictions on the use of the word ‘shaheed’, allowing its use in a ‘neutral way’ when discussing terror organizations and events. This decision has raised concerns about the impact it may have on online content moderation practices and the promotion of terrorism through social media platforms.


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