Facebook is getting pulled into a fight about the politics of Israel

Facebook is getting pulled into a fight about the politics of Israel


Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

On November 10th, a Facebook employee sent out an unusual email to an unknown outside party, hoping to arrange a conversation about how the platform moderated against anti-Semitism. “We are looking at the question of how we should interpret attacks on ‘Zionists,’” reads the letter, whose recipient was redacted, “to determine whether the term is a proxy for attacking Jewish or Israeli people.”

That strange but seemingly innocuous email has set off a firestorm in certain corners of the left. Since Tuesday, activists have been circulating a petition calling on the platform to halt any potential changes to the way Facebook moderates the word “Zionist.” Both sides agree the term is often used as part of racist rhetoric that is accurately…

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