Is Facebook making a political statement about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by citing the name of an Arab village that existed in modern-day Tel Aviv before 1948?
An Israeli Facebook user wondered the same thing this week when she posted a notice indicating that the social network has appended the name “Al Mas’Udiya” to Tel Aviv whenever she wanted to indicate her location.
Oare Gat’s post went viral quickly, generating nearly 800 likes and hundreds of shares in just two days.
“Without categorizing myself, I’m considered a left-winger, but what is this I see and nobody is commenting on this?” she wrote.
“Facebook, as it usually does, offers us the option of tagging pictures with the location of where they were taken. I see that whenever I want to tag something as Tel Aviv, I also get the option ‘Al Mas-Udiya, Tel Aviv, Israel’.”
“After checking on Google, I realized that Facebook changed its policy and has added ‘Al Mas-Udiya’ to Tel Aviv because that was the name of the Arab village that existed here in the 1930s and 40s,” she wrote.
According to Wikipedia, Al Mas’Udiya was a village whose population in 1945 stood at 850 inhabitants.
“It sounds like a joke,” Gat wrote. “Seventy-one years after the fact, they change the name of the place because 850 people of a certain religious and national background live here. Just unbelievable.”
“From now on, any visitor that comes to Tel Aviv will appear on Facebook as if he or she was first in Al Mas’Udiya,” she wrote.