Former Meta Employee Sues Firm For Wrongful Termination

Menlo Park, USA, May 5, 2023: Meta corporation headquarters glass building concept. Metaverse facebook virtual reality network company symbol on front facade 3d illustration.

A former employee of Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, has sued the company over wrongful termination.

Ferras Hamad, who was a software engineer for the company, is alleging that Meta let him go from his position after he was looking into pro-Palestinian content as part of his duties.

While working for Meta, one of the things that Hamad was tasked with doing was overseeing the content filters Instagram had in place related to the two ongoing wars in Ukraine and Gaza, the lawsuit alleges.

On Tuesday, he filed the lawsuit against Meta in Santa Clara, California, state court.

In his role, Hamad focused on investigating what are known as “severe issues,” or SEVs, on the social media platform. According to his lawsuit, Meta terminated him from his position because he is from a Palestinian background, and because he raised questions about how Meta was handling a photojournalist’s account on Instagram.

That person in question is Palestinian.

As Hamad’s complaint states:

“Specifically, Plaintiff was scrutinized, interrogated and terminated because he was of Palestinian national origin and/or Muslum investigating a SEV related to one of the  most famous Palestinian photojournalists during the conflict in Gaza.

“Plaintiff did not receive similar scrutiny, interrogation or adverse employment actions when he responded to SEVs related to Ukraine or other world events.”

Meta responded to the lawsuit by issuing a statement, which read:

“[Hamad] was dismissed for violating Meta’s data access policies, which we make clear to employees will result in immediate termination.”

According to the company, these data access policies relate to all internal employee conduct. Company officials further said that there are strict parameters in place as to what kinds of data that employees are allowed to access and when they’re allowed to do so.

The account that was owned by the photojournalist was labeled incorrectly as being “pornographic,” the complaint states. It also alleges that the ex-employee’s manager told him initially that he wasn’t violating any Meta policy in relation to the issue, and that he had handled everything properly.

But, on February 2, Hamad was fired from Meta allegedly because of a connection “to a violation of its User Data Access Policy,” the complaint states. 

In addition, the lawsuit alleges that Meta said Hamad might have personally known the photojournalist in question. That person had more than 17 million followers on the popular social media platform.

As the complaint lays out:

“Plaintiff was terminated despite confirmation from Plaintiff’s manager that he had acted correctly and from META’s own security operations personnel unequivocally stating the Plaintiff did not violate META’s User Data Access Policy.”

In addition, it adds that it’s “highly improbable” that the ex-employee could’ve known the photojournalist in question personally, as it says that Hamad was born in America and had never even visited Gaza before.

As the lawsuit states:

“In reality, Plaintiff is simply the latest victim of META’s callus, chronic, and consistent anti-Palestinian bias.”