Washington (CNN) — Meta will now remove posts containing the term “Zionist” when used in conjunction with antisemitic tropes or dehumanizing rhetoric, the company said Tuesday, in an expansion of its current hate speech policies.

The decision follows what the company described as a months-long inquiry into how the term has historically been used and how it is currently being used on social media, particularly as the war in Gaza continues.

“We have determined that the existing policy guidance does not sufficiently address the ways people are using the term ‘Zionist’ online and offline,” Meta said in a blog post. “Going forward, we will remove content attacking ‘Zionists’ when it is not explicitly about the political movement, but instead uses antisemitic stereotypes, or threatens other types of harm through intimidation, or violence directed against Jews or Israelis under the guise of attacking Zionists.”

The new approach recognizes that the term “Zionist” — which, narrowly construed, refers to the political movement promoting the creation of a Jewish state — is sometimes used as an epithet by opponents of Israel. The word at times is used as a proxy for the words “Jew” or “Israeli,” particularly in a negative connotation, Meta said, outlining the results of its platform research and its consultations with outside experts earlier this year.

Meta said it met with more than 145 historians, civil rights groups, legal and human rights experts, and free speech advocates from around the world in reaching its decision.

Use of the term “Zionist” may now violate Meta’s terms when uttered in connection with antisemitic claims about Jews running the world; parallels that draw comparisons between Jews and animals; calls for harm against Jews or statements that seek to deny their existence; or that mock Jews for having a disease, Meta added.

The company said it also asked its quasi-judicial oversight board to issue guidance on how it should moderate posts that accuse groups labeled with “proxy terms for nationality (including Zionists)” of war crimes.

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