Meta removes ayatollah Khamenei’s social media accounts for policy violations

The move comes after pressure to ban Khamenei following an attack by Hamas on Israel.

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Social media giant Meta, formerly known as Facebook, has taken action against Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, by removing his Facebook and Instagram accounts. This move comes in response to Khamenei repeatedly violating Meta’s content policies, particularly the Dangerous Organizations & Individuals policy. Although Meta did not explicitly mention the Israel-Hamas war as the trigger for this action, pressure had been mounting on the company since the October 7 attack by Hamas on Israel.

Khamenei openly supported Hamas’ violent actions during the conflict with Israel, although he denied any Iranian involvement in the attack. He also expressed support for Palestinian retaliation against Israel’s bombardment of Gaza and the Huthi rebels’ attacks on Red Sea shipping. With a significant following of five million on Instagram, Khamenei was able to disseminate his views widely.

Why does this matter?

Meta’s decision to remove Khamenei’s accounts aligns with its goal of preventing real-world harm. The platform does not allow individuals or organizations associated with violence or advocating a violent mission to have a presence. The aim is to curb the glorification, support, and representation of dangerous individuals and organisations.

It is important to note that the United States designates Hamas as a foreign terrorist organisation. Additionally, while Instagram and Facebook are officially banned in Iran, Iranian users utilise virtual private networks (VPNs) to bypass restrictions and access these platforms, along with other prohibited websites and apps.