Facebook has published a new safety guide designed to protect Muslims online and boost their “confidence and mental wellbeing”.
The social media giant has joined forces with Faith Associates, an English-based training consultancy which works with ethnic minority communities, to compile the 19-page online document. Keeping Muslims Safe Online: Tackling Hate and Bigotry was produced following a consultation which included speaking to young Muslims in British schools as well as the leadership in various mosques, Islamic centres and madrassahs.
Under a section headed ‘Staying Positive’, the Facebook guide advises people: “If you see someone being targeted for being a Muslim, don’t be a bystander. Send them supportive messages and share your good news stories of how we contribute to society to help dispel the myths and lies of far-right and anti-Muslim voices.
“If you see someone sharing terrorist content and encouraging others to join extremist groups, report them and then make or share posts that show true Islamic messages of peace, mercy or tolerance.”
The guide warns that “far-right groups and their sympathisers” are using social media to spread “disgusting propaganda” which targets and promotes violence and hatred towards Muslims. It adds: “It is crucial that we work together to eradicate hatred and bigotry from our Facebook communities to keep it a safe place for all of us to interact and share our ideas, pictures and videos.”
Simon Milner, Facebook’s UK head of policy, said the guide was designed to “empower Muslim communities of Facebook” and also urges users to “contact the police if you feel threatened.” Other practical tips include reporting abusive comments to Facebook, changing privacy settings and talking to a number of specialist organisations that it says can help victims.
Though it gives several examples, the guide doesn’t give a definition of what constitutes ‘hate speech’ and instead points people to Facebook’s Community Standards for an indication on what type of content should be reported and removed. It also remains unclear what the platform means by “make or share posts that show true Islamic messages of peace, mercy or tolerance” given that the Qur’an and other Islamic scriptures contain hundreds of violent and intolerant passages.
To read the full report, visit this link.
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