Meta's oversight board allows 'Death to Khamenei' Facebook post

Meta's oversight board allows 'Death to Khamenei' Facebook post
The oversight board of Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram said the post calling for the 'death' of Iran's supreme leader was a 'rhetorical, political slogan, not a credible threat'.
2 min read
12 January, 2023
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is the Supreme Leader of Iran [IRANIAN LEADER PRESS OFFICE/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images]

The Oversight Board of Meta, the parent company of Facebook, overturned a recent decision to remove a post that called for the 'death' of Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, saying it did not violate the company’s rule which bars violent threats. 

The board is funded by Meta but operates independently, and ruled that the 'Death to Khamenei' slogan used in the post was political rather than violent. 

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"In the context of the post, and the broader social, political and linguistic situation in Iran, 'marg bar Khamenei' should be understood as 'down with'. It is a rhetorical, political slogan, not a credible threat," the board said, referring to the Persian for "Death to Khamenei".

This is in contrast to the social media company previously banning posts targeting Israel for its treatment of the Palestinians.

In September last year, Human Rights Watch said that Meta was censoring content related to Israel’s human rights abuses in 2021. 

"Instagram and Facebook, which are owned by Meta, removed content documenting human rights abuses during May 2021 hostilities in Israel and Palestine. Censoring content, particularly during periods of violence, harms human rights," the rights group tweeted last September. 

In May 2021, violence broke out between Israel and the Palestinians after repeated Israeli attacks on the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Sheikh Jarrah area of East Jerusalem.

Over 250 Palestinians were killed when Israel bombed the Gaza Strip. 

At the time, a report in The Intercept revealed that Meta was suppressing criticism of Israel.

Protests are currently ongoing in Iran following the death of Kurdish-Iranian woman Mahsa (Jina) Amini in the custody of the country's morality police in September.

They have been described as the biggest challenge to the country’s clerical ruling order in years. Iranian security forces have killed hundreds of protesters and arrested thousands. 

Four people have been executed for their involvement in the demonstrations.