People have used app ratings to defy company policies in the past, but an ongoing campaign could do great damage. NBC News there learned that pro-Palestinian activists have succeeded in a campaign to trash Facebook ratings in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store through “thousands” of one-star reviews. Many of the participants accused Facebook of silencing Palestinians as they talked about the growing unrest in Israel.
The social network took the campaign very seriously, according to information on the message board NBC obtained. It is marked as a “weight 1” issue, or at least a complete loss of site. An elderly Facebook engineer says users feel they are “censored” and otherwise restricted.
It is even more noteworthy, however, that store operators do not have to intervene. A Facebook employee says Apple has refused to decide on stellar reviews. It’s not clear what Google’s response will be.
We asked Apple and Google for comment. Facebook dismissed the censorship allegations in a statement NBC, claims that its policies give “everyone a voice” and that they apply regardless of beliefs. Spokesman Andy Stone instructed a team to “keep a close eye” on the Israeli-Palestinian situation to both get rid of the harmful content and correct enforcement errors.
This doesn’t cause Facebook to change its approach. However, it was noted that the campaign had an impact first – and that app store hosts were able to avoid disaster. It’s no surprise that many campaigns like this will come out in the future, even if it doesn’t lead to company action.
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