ISTANBUL: Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, announced an expansion of its hate speech policy on Tuesday to remove posts that target “Zionists” in a derogatory manner.

The new policy is designed to prevent the use of “Zionist” as a way to express “antisemitic views” towards Jews and Israelis, Anadolu Agency quoted the social media giant.

Recognising the multifaceted historical and modern interpretations of the term “Zionist,“ Meta stressed the importance of distinguishing between “legitimate” political discussions and harmful rhetoric directed at individuals.

After consulting with over 145 experts, Meta decided to take action against content that “promotes antisemitic stereotypes, incites harm, or denies the existence of Jews or Israelis under the guise of criticising ‘Zionists’.”

While the company will remove posts that make “dehumanising comparisons or call for harm using the term ‘Zionists’,” discussions related to the Zionist political movement itself will still be allowed on its platforms, the social media giant added.

Criticism has been directed at Meta for its approach to content from the Middle East, with concerns raised about the suppression of pro-Palestinian content and inconsistencies in enforcing hate speech policies on Facebook.

Meta’s content moderation practices and decision-making have been under scrutiny for lacking transparency and external oversight, especially following instances where hate speech went undetected in ads and posts, including those inciting violence and genocide against ethnic groups.