Press Release

Former Meta Engineer Sues Company For Unfair Dismissal

The former Meta engineer stated that he was let go by the company for attempting to assist in resolving issues that resulted in the suppression of Palestinian Instagram posts. 

TakeAway Points:

  • A former Meta engineer on Tuesday accused the company of bias in its handling of content related to the war in Gaza, claiming in a lawsuit that Meta fired him for trying to help fix bugs causing the suppression of Palestinian Instagram posts.
  • The lawsuit claims that when staff members posted emojis of the Israeli or Ukrainian flag in comparable situations, the business did not open any such inquiries.

Former Meta Engineer Sues Company

Engineer Ferras Hamad, who is Palestinian-American and has worked for Meta since 2021 in its machine learning team, filed a lawsuit against the social media behemoth in a state court in California, claiming he was fired unfairly in February and that there was other misconduct.

In the complaint, Hamad charged Meta with a history of discrimination against Palestinians, claiming the business had investigated its use of the Palestinian flag emoji and removed internal staff correspondence mentioning their relatives’ deaths in Gaza.

The lawsuit claims that when staff members posted emojis of the Israeli or Ukrainian flag in comparable situations, the business did not open any such inquiries.

Critics against Meta

Human rights organisations have long criticised Meta for its role in censoring content against Israel and the Palestinian territories that is posted on its platforms. This criticism is reflected in Hamad’s assertions as well as in an outside study the firm commissioned in 2021.

After Hamas militants attacked within Israel on October 7, 1,200 people were killed and another 250 were taken captive, according to Israeli counts, sparking conflict in Gaza. In retaliation, Israel began an offensive in Gaza that, according to Gaza health officials, has killed over 36,000 Palestinians and precipitated a humanitarian crisis.

The corporation has been accused of stifling demonstrations of solidarity for Palestinians living in the midst of the conflict since the war began last year.

An open letter written earlier this year to CEO Mark Zuckerberg and senior executives expressed similar concerns from about 200 Meta workers.

Situations surrounding Hamad’s dismissal

According to Hamad, the reason for his dismissal seemed to be an occurrence that happened in December involving a SEV, or “site event,” which is a Meta term for an emergency procedure meant to fix serious issues with the company’s platforms.

He had observed procedural anomalies in the execution of a SEV about content limitations placed by Palestinian Instagram celebrities that blocked their posts from showing up in feeds and searches.

According to the complaint, he discovered that in one instance, a brief video uploaded by Palestinian photojournalist Motaz Azaiza was incorrectly classified as obscene despite featuring a demolished Gazan building.

Hamad claimed that despite having previously worked on sensitive SEVs pertaining to Israel, Gaza, and Ukraine, he had gotten contradictory advice from different staff members on the SEV’s status and his authorization to assist in its resolution. He said that the SEV was a component of his work function, which his manager later acknowledged in writing.

The following month, Hamad submitted an internal discrimination complaint and was fired a few days later, he claimed, after a Meta representative informed him he was the focus of an inquiry.

Hamad said that Meta had informed him that he had been sacked for disobeying a rule prohibiting staff members from dealing with accounts of individuals they knew directly; this restriction pertained to Azaiza, the photojournalist. Hamad declared that he did not know Azaiza personally.

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