'A UN human rights expert has warned that Facebook's definition of what constitutes “terrorism” is “overly broad” and may lead to governments suppressing legitimate opposition groups and dissenting voices.
“The use of such a sweeping definition is particularly worrying in light of a number of governments seeking to stigmatize diverse forms of dissent and opposition -- whether peaceful or violent -- as terrorism,” the UN special rapporteur on protecting human rights and countering terrorism, Fionnuala Ni Aolain, wrote in a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Monday.
Ni Aolain said in the letter that defining all non-state groups using violence for a goal as terrorists could lead to excessive censoring and blocking of access to its platform.
“The use of overly broad and imprecise definitions as the basis for regulating access to and the use of Facebook’s platform may lead to discriminatory implementation, over-censoring and arbitrary denial of access to and use of Facebook’s services,” she said.
“The definition is further at odds with international humanitarian law as it qualifies all non-state armed groups party to a non-international armed conflict as terrorists, even if these groups comply with international humanitarian law,” Ni Aolain noted.
The UN official also voiced concern over lack of clarity about the methods the social networking service company uses to determine if a person belongs to a particular group, and if that person has “the opportunity to meaningfully challenge such determination.”'
Read more: Facebook's definition of terrorism helps governments silence dissent
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