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Meta removes Instagram, Facebook accounts of Iran’s Khamenei

Meta said it had removed the Facebook and Instagram accounts of Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei for violating its policy.

This handout picture provided by the office of Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei shows him sitting on stage during a meeting with Iranian air force commanders in Tehran on February 5, 2024
This handout picture provided by the office of Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei shows him sitting on stage during a meeting with Iranian air force commanders in Tehran on February 5, 2024 - Copyright khamenei.ir/AFP/File -
This handout picture provided by the office of Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei shows him sitting on stage during a meeting with Iranian air force commanders in Tehran on February 5, 2024 - Copyright khamenei.ir/AFP/File -

Meta on Thursday said it had removed the Facebook and Instagram accounts of Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei for violating its content policy.

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

Though Meta did not mention the Israel-Hamas war, the company has been under pressure to ban the leader ever since the October 7 attack by Hamas on Israel.

After the attack, Khamenei supported the bloody rampage by Hamas, but denied any Iranian involvement.

He has also publicly supported Palestinian retaliation against Israel’s bombardment of Gaza as well as attacks on shipping in the Red Sea by Yemen’s Huthi rebels.

Khamenei, in power in Iran for 35 years, has five million followers on Instagram.

“In an effort to prevent and disrupt real-world harm, we do not allow organizations or individuals that proclaim a violent mission or are engaged in violence to have a presence on our platforms,” says the policy on which Meta based its decision.

It also says it will “remove glorification, support and representation of various dangerous organizations and individuals.”

Hamas is designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the United States.

Instagram and Facebook are banned in Iran, but Iranians use virtual private networks, or VPNs, to evade restrictions and access prohibited websites or apps, including the US-owned Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

AFP
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With 2,400 staff representing 100 different nationalities, AFP covers the world as a leading global news agency. AFP provides fast, comprehensive and verified coverage of the issues affecting our daily lives.

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