Why 'Shaheed' Is An Issue For Facebook And Instagram?

By Consultants Review Team Wednesday, 27 March 2024

The parent corporation of Facebook and Instagram, Meta, is facing criticism about the name "Shaheed" from its own Oversight Board. More terms have been deleted and flagged on Meta's platforms than any other, with the phrase "martyr" being the most often translated. However, the Board claims that because the phrase has "multiple meanings," taking it down from the website would discourage "legitimate discourse."

"Shaheed" is described in Meta policy as specific commendation.

By policy, when the term "shaheed" is used to refer to a specific person, Meta interprets it as an expression of explicit appreciation, and it is eliminated. This is a result of Meta's designation and prohibition of "organizations or individuals that proclaim a violent mission or are engaged in violence"—such as hate groups or terrorists—from its platforms.

Additionally, they forbid anything that gives these specific organizations and people "praise, substantive support, or representation."

Board: Shaheed has numerous connotations and shouldn't be completely banned.

Nonetheless, 'Shaheed' is interpreted differently in diverse cultures, languages, and religious contexts by several people worldwide.

"Shaheed" is frequently used neutrally in a variety of situations, including intellectual discourse, journalistic settings, and human rights conversations, according to the Oversight Board. As such, outright prohibiting this phrase impedes sincere discourse.

The Oversight Board recommends Meta to focus on identifying blatant instances of violence or other policy infractions rather than arbitrarily eliminating content that contains the term "shaheed." The board also requests that Meta increase the transparency of its automatic content moderation mechanisms.

"Global challenges exist in scaling moderation efforts," a Meta representative stated. We asked the board for advice on "shaheed," and we will get back to them in a week.

Meta established the Oversight Board to assist them in addressing some of the trickiest issues pertaining to online freedom of expression: what should be removed, what should be left up, and why. If individuals disagree with Meta's judgments about content enforcement on Facebook, Instagram, or Threads, they have the option to appeal to the board, which is an external entity.

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