Around 200 Facebook employees signed an open letter last week urging the platform to address mounting criticism that it was censoring Palestinian content and suppressing pro-Palestinian voices.
The letter demanded that Facebook take measures to guarantee the equal treatment of pro-Palestinian content and ensure that such posts are not unfairly taken down or pushed lower in the feed.
It said: “As highlighted by employees, the press and members of Congress, and as reflected in our declining app store rating, our users and community at large feel that we are falling short on our promise to protect open expression around the situation in Palestine.
We believe Facebook can and should do more to understand our users and work on rebuilding their trust.”
During the violence in Gaza and elsewhere in Palestine, an overwhelming number of Palestinian-related posts were censored by social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Activists took to social media to spread awareness on what was happening in Palestine and found that their posts being taken down and their accounts deactivated.
Last Sunday, Facebook was the target of a coordinated social media campaign launched by pro-Palestine activists in an attempt to push down the Facebook app’s ranking on Apple’s App Store and Android’s Google Play.
Launched in response to Facebook’s censorship of content supporting and promoting Palestine-related news, the campaign was successful in bringing down the platform’s rating to 1.9 stars on the App Store.
Meanwhile, after facing mounting accusations of censoring Palestinian content, Instagram announced on Monday that it would be making changes to the way it displays content.
In related developments Palestinian have gained clout recently thanks to how the NASA Ingenuity helicopter in April became the first instance of flight in the skies of Mars. The challenge of designing a craft capable of flying in Martian conditions was handled in part by Palestinian electronics lead Loay Elbasyouni.
“Since the time of the Wright Brothers’ first flight on earth in 1903, to today in 2021 flying a helicopter on Mars. It’s practically like two points in aviation history,” said Elbasyouni, current senior director of engineering at Astrodyne TDI.
The helicopter hovered for 40 seconds before landing.
“Flying on Mars is basically a dream that came to reality. I mean Mars’ atmosphere only has 1 percent of the air of Earth,” he said.
“So we had to consider a lot of these things plus the environment and other conditions and design something to be super lightweight. At the same time you know you have to design the propeller to be much larger than it is on Earth and also spin about five times faster.”
After making history working alongside NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, Elbasyouni has moved on to new projects, pushing boundaries in other realms of aeronautics.
“We’re working on electric propulsion that could be utilized for alternative modes of transportation like electric aircraft,” Elbasyouni explained. “It could be used for something for space just like the Mars helicopter.”
Source: Arab News