With the upcoming elections looming in Israel, ISOC-IL wishes to raise the awareness of users as well as Meta Group/Facebook in regard to inadequacies regarding their handling of community standards that they themselves stipulated. This can have a worrisome impact on the upcoming elections unless immediate steps are taken to resolve these issues. ISOC-IL sent a letter on September 13 to Facebook Israel and to Meta Europe alerting them to the issues raised below.
Abstract of our letter to Meta
As we all know, social media has a central place in the daily lives of citizens, especially during elections. As proof of this, since 2021, Facebook has announced special initiatives and preparations for supporting the integrity of national elections in the US, Brazil, Kenya, the Philippines, Ethiopia, and India.
However, when we consider whether we can trust the way you maintain the safety of Israeli users, we have no choice but to have research-based doubts.
As detailed in our attached letter, Meta Group’s moderation of non-English languages is deficient and requires immediate improvement. Meta’s own independent review body, the Oversight Board – established that the investment in managing and monitoring content in languages other than English is insufficient. A former Facebook employee has revealed that Facebook’s artificial intelligence systems are unable to detect offensive content in a large number of languages. Global Witness has proven that Meta still fails significantly in dealing with content defined as violating the purity of elections in languages other than English. The limitations of the social network in the effective identification and removal of content and accounts that violate its own community rules are also present in full force in the Israeli arena, as elaborated in our letter. To illustrate the scope of the violation of the rules in this regard in the Hebrew language, one may look at the Facebook search results for users whose name is a “fake name” [in Hebrew] (link), as a clear and widespread violation of the community rules, which can be easily and automatically identified.
Against this background, we urge Meta Group to open an immediate dialogue with the relevant State authorities and civil society bodies, in order to formulate an effective and immediate response that will ensure that users in Israel will have a safe and secure election process. We hope that Meta, and Facebook Israel as its representative in Israel, will show the required responsibility towards the Israeli public and formulate immediate steps to deal with the content enforcement failures in relation to content and accounts in Hebrew, Arabic and Russian, especially against the background of the upcoming elections.