San Francisco: A coordinated social media campaign against Facebook for its pro-Israeli stands by Pro-Palestine activists pulled down its ranking in the Apple and Google's app stores.
The activists are seeking to protest Facebook's alleged censorship of Palestinian accounts on its platform, and are instructing people to leave Facebook's app a one-star review.
According to NBC News, Facebook is treating the situation as a high-priority issue internally; one software engineer wrote in a post on an internal Facebook message board that "users are upset with our handling of the situation," adding that the users "have started protesting by leaving 1-star reviews." Facebook has reached out to have the reviews removed, but so far Apple has declined the request to remove the reviews. It's not clear how or if Google responded to the request.
The rating for Facebook's iOS app on the App Store as of Sunday afternoon was 2.3 stars out of 5, with 1-star ratings far outpacing others. In the Google Play store, the situation was similar; the Android Facebook app had a slightly higher 2.4 rating, with the majority of the reviews 1-star.
In the last week, the average star rating for the social network was down from over 4 out of 5 to 2.3 out of 5 on Apple's App Store and 2.4 out of 5 on Google Play after receiving thousands of one-star reviews.
"Many of the reviews include comments mentioning Facebook's alleged silencing of Palestinian voices and hashtags such as #FreePalestine or #GazaUnderAttack," the NBC report mentioned.
Facebook reached out to Apple and Google to get the low reviews removed, but so far, "Apple has declined the request to remove the reviews" and it is not clear yet how Google responded to Facebook's request.
"Our policies are designed to give everyone a voice while keeping them safe on our apps, and we apply these policies equally, regardless of who is posting or their personal beliefs," a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement.
"We have a dedicated team, which includes Arabic and Hebrew speakers, closely monitoring the situation on the ground, who are focused on making sure we're removing harmful content while addressing any enforcement errors as quickly as possible," the company spokesperson was quoted as saying.
A relative calm has dominated the Gaza Strip after an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire between Israel and the Hamas militants came into effect in the besieged enclave after 11 days of bloodshed.