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Today, November 28, 2023, the Oversight Board selected a case appealed by a Facebook user regarding a video posted to French politician Eric Zemmour’s official Facebook Page. The video depicts Zemmour speaking to an interviewer about demographic changes between Europe and Africa. Zenmour claims that at the beginning of the 20th Century, there were 100 million people living in Africa and 400 million in Europe, whereas today there are 1.5 billion people living in Africa and 400 million in Europe. He then says “when there were 4 Europeans for 1 African, what did we do, we've colonized Africa. Now that there are 4 Africans for 1 European, what's happening? Africa is colonizing Europe, and specifically France.”
Meta determined that the content did not violate our policies on Hate Speech, as laid out in our Facebook Community Standards, and left the content up.
Under our Hate Speech policy, Meta prohibits any content that “direct attack[s] against people — rather than concepts or institutions — on the basis of what we call protected characteristics: race, ethnicity, national origin, disability, religious affiliation, caste, sexual orientation, sex, gender identity and serious disease,” and any content that calls for exclusion of members of a protected characteristic group. However, we do not consider the allegation that one group is “colonizing” a place to be an attack in and of itself so long as it does not amount to a call for exclusion. This is because discussions about colonization and colonialism can be complicated and nuanced, and we want to allow citizens to discuss the laws and policies of their nations so long as this discussion does not constitute attacks against vulnerable groups. In this instance, the claims about population change and its purported connection to colonization do not contain an attack and furthermore does not even identify a protected characteristic group but instead makes statements about a continent.
We will implement the board’s decision once it has finished deliberating, and we will update this post accordingly. Please see the board’s website for the decision when they issue it.