Former Meta Engineer Accuses Company Of Bias In Handling Gaza Content, Files Lawsuit For Wrongful Termination

Editor’s Note: This story was updated to include a comment from a Meta spokesperson.

A former Meta Platforms Inc. META engineer has filed a lawsuit against the tech giant, alleging wrongful termination due to his efforts to rectify content suppression related to the Gaza conflict.

What Happened: On Tuesday, Ferras Hamad, a Palestinian-American engineer, sued Meta for discrimination, wrongful termination, and other misconduct following his dismissal in February.

In the lawsuit, Hamad claimed that Meta fired him for attempting to address bugs that were causing the suppression of Palestinian Instagram posts, reported Reuters.

After filing an internal discrimination complaint, Hamad was fired the following month. Meta cited a policy violation, claiming that Hamad worked on issues involving people he knew personally, including Motaz Azaiza, a Palestinian photojournalist. Hamad denies any personal connection to the journalist.

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Hamad also accused Meta of showing bias against Palestinians, saying the company deleted internal employee communications mentioning the deaths of their relatives in Gaza.

According to the lawsuit, Meta conducted investigations into the use of the Palestinian flag emoji by its employees but did not do the same for those using the Israeli or Ukrainian flag emojis in similar contexts.

“The employee was dismissed for violating Meta's data access policies, which we make clear to employees will result in immediate termination,” a Meta spokesperson told Benzinga in an emailed statement.

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Why It Matters: Hamad’s allegations echo long-standing criticisms by human rights groups regarding Meta’s moderation of content related to Israel and the Palestinian territories. The conflict in Gaza began when Hamas militants attacked Israel on Oct. 7, 2023, leading to a humanitarian crisis.

Meta has been under scrutiny for its content moderation policies during the Israel-Hamas conflict. In October 2023, Meta’s Chief Product Officer, Chris Coxaddressed the disparities in content moderation between Instagram, Facebook, and other platforms during the conflict.

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Disclaimer: This content was partially produced with the help of Benzinga Neuro and was reviewed and published by Benzinga editors.

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