Meta faces legal action over engineer's wrongful firing

Engineer alleges he was fired for trying to resolve a bug that misclassified a Palestine-related post

Meta faces legal action over engineer's wrongful firing

A former Meta engineer is suing the tech giant for wrongfully terminating him after he tried to fix a bug that allegedly caused the suppression of a Palestinian Instagram post, according to reports.

Ferras Hamad, a Palestinian-American engineer, filed the lawsuit at the California state court for wrongful termination and discrimination in relation to his sacking in February, Reuters reported.

Reuters, citing the lawsuit, reported that Hamad was fired after he helped resolve a SEV, or a site event, within Meta that involved the misclassification of a short video posted by Palestinian photojournalist Motaz Azaiza.

According to Hamad, the photo depicted a destroyed village in Gaza, but was misclassified by Meta as pornographic material.

He became the subject of an investigation the month after, despite receiving confirmation from his manager that the SEV was part of his job function.

Hamad filed an internal discrimination complaint, but was terminated days after that, according to the lawsuit cited by Reuters.

According to the engineer, Meta said he was fired for violating a policy that bars employees on resolving cases of accounts of people they know personally. Hamad, however, denied that he had a personal connection to Azaiza.

Bias against Palestine

Meanwhile, Hamad is also accusing Meta of being biased against Palestinians.

The former Meta engineer accused the tech giant of deleting internal employee communications that mentioned the deaths of their relatives in Gaza.

The organisation also carried out probe into their use of the Palestinian emoji, despite not making similar measures for employees using the Israeli or Ukrainian flag emojis in similar contexts.

Meta did not respond to comments on the case, according to Reuters.

The tech giant has been the subject of criticism over its handling on the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Last year, it limited "potentially unwelcome or unwanted comments on posts" about the ongoing conflict by changing the default setting for who can comment on newly created public Facebook posts of people in the region to Friends and/or established followers only.

Among its other measures included banning praise for Hamas, which has been designated by Meta as a Dangerous Organisation.

The tech giant, however, stressed that its policies are designe to "keep people safe on our apps while giving everyone a voice."

"We apply these policies equally around the world and there is no truth to the suggestion that we are deliberately suppressing voice," it added.

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