Venus Bleeds, a Lebanese musician based in Paris, has gained popularity on TikTok for his videos about the Hamas-Israel war. However, he suspects that social media companies may be hiding his pro-Palestinian content. Bleeds has noticed that some of his videos have been banned on TikTok and others have been automatically removed. He also believes that he and other content creators are being ‘shadowbanned’ on Instagram, resulting in fewer views for their stories. Shadowbanning is when social media platforms hide people or content without notifying them. Content moderation expert Marten Risius explains that platforms often tweak their algorithms during times of crisis to detect unwanted content, such as terrorist content. However, these algorithms are not perfect and may inadvertently demote certain content based on associations. Bleeds is concerned that biased algorithms are skewing online discourse and making people believe they are getting real information when they may not be. Both Meta (Facebook and Instagram) and TikTok deny deliberately suppressing pro-Palestinian viewpoints and claim to remove content that violates their guidelines. Associate professor Tim Graham suggests that there may be a political bias on social media platforms like Twitter, where pro-Israel content tends to dominate. He also notes the influence of Elon Musk, who has control over Twitter since acquiring it. Bleeds remains committed to posting videos about the situation in Gaza and sees it as a serious issue that affects many people.
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