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9 Feb, 2024 02:20

Meta blacklists Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei

The tech giant says it prohibits people with a “violent mission” or those “engaged in violence”
Meta blacklists Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei

Meta has banned multiple Facebook and Instagram accounts belonging to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, accusing him of breaching policies regarding “dangerous individuals and organizations.”

The social media company confirmed the bans in a statement to multiple news outlets on Thursday, with Middle East Eye reporting that accounts in both English and Farsi had been disabled.

“We have removed these accounts for repeatedly violating our Dangerous Organizations & Individuals policy,” a Meta spokesperson told AFP and other news agencies.

While the spokesperson did not say exactly how Khamenei’s accounts had run afoul of that policy, the move comes after repeated calls by pro-Israel groups to take action against the Iranian leader’s online presence in the wake of the Israel-Hamas war. Tehran has denied involvement in the Palestinian militant group’s October 7 attack on Israel, but has voiced strong support for Hamas and Palestinians more broadly amid the latest conflict.

Meta says it does not allow “organizations or individuals that proclaim a violent mission or are engaged in violence to have a presence on our platforms,” adding that it will also “remove glorification, support and representation of various dangerous organizations and individuals.”

Khamenei’s Farsi-language Instagram page had more than 5 million followers, while the English version boasted more than 200,000. His former Facebook page appears to have had a smaller presence, with around 16,000 followers.

Several verified accounts under Khamenei’s name remain active on X (formerly Twitter), including handles that post in different languages. In the wake of the October 7 terrorist attack, the Ayatollah declared that “the cancer of the usurper Zionist regime will be eradicated at the hands of the Palestinian people and the Resistance forces throughout the region,” with X later stating that the post would “remain accessible” for the “public’s interest.”

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