Facebook’s Broad Definition of Terrorism May Affect Opposition - IHRL Lawyer

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GENEVA (Sputnik) – A UN human rights expert expressed concern in a letter, released on Monday, about IT giant Facebook’s "overly broad definition of terrorism and terrorist organizations," given the willingness of some countries to designate members of opposition groups as terrorists.

"The use of such a sweeping definition is particularly worrying in light of a number of governments seeking to stigmatize diverse forms of dissent and opposition (whether peaceful or violent) as terrorism. The definition is further at odds with international humanitarian law as it qualifies all non-state armed groups party to a non-international armed conflict as terrorists, even if these groups comply with international humanitarian law," Fionnuala Ni Aolain said in a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, dated July 24 and released on the website of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on Monday.

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The expert noted it was unclear how the company determined whether a person was a member of a certain group and if that person or group had been given the right to challenge such a designation.

Ni Aolain said that Facebook lacked a human rights approach to content moderation policies and insisted they should be amended.

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The letter further argued that the company should adopt definitions of "terrorism" and "incitement to terrorism" that are developed under the mandate of the UN special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism.

Ni Aolain insisted that only the content of a genuinely terrorist nature should be removed or blocked, which should be done in line with the relevant international legislation.

According to the definition, released by Facebook in May, "any non-governmental organization that engages in premeditated acts of violence against persons or property to intimidate a civilian population, government, or international organization in order to achieve a political, religious, or ideological aim" is considered a terror organization.

Facebook has recently faced a backlash from the public and experts over various policies used by the company. In one of the most recent cases, reported by US media last week, Facebook employees created a closed group on the platform to protest the company's support for left-wing viewpoints and its reluctance to accept political diversity.

The views and opinions expressed are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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