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‘Death to’ releases OK for Iranian leader, Meta says – RT World News

Oversight Council says posting anti-Khamenei slogans on Facebook is not hate speech

Messages wishing death to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei are appropriate in the “the context” of ongoing political unrest and therefore no hate speech, Mark Zuckerberg’s social media company Meta was told by its censorship advisory body.

One of Meta’s platforms, Facebook, had removed a cartoon that depicted Khamenei as oppressive women. In a Farsi speech bubble, the cartoon called the Islamic Republic the worst dictatorship in history and wished death on “Anti-women Islamic government” and his “dirty leader Khamenei”, according to the Supervisory Board.

While Meta initially said the post violated its policy on “Violence and Incitement” the decision was quickly reversed due to “news value”, depending on the company.

The Oversight Council’s decision further argued that the language of the post was legitimate political speech.

“In the context of the position and the broader social, political and linguistic situation in Iran, ‘marg bar Khamenei’ should be understood as ‘down’. This is a rhetorical and political slogan, not a credible threat,” the board wrote.

Iran has been grappling with civil unrest – ranging from street protests to police killings – since September, when media claimed 22-year-old Mahsa Amini was killed by police for wearing her hijab improperly. . Iranian authorities have blamed the unrest on Western governments seeking “regime change” in Tehran.

This is not the first time that Meta has softened its “hate speech” policies in response to world events. In February 2022, the platform said it would allow users in multiple countries to wish death on Russian “invaders” or President Vladimir Putin, as a legitimate expression of “anger” on the conflict in Ukraine. Moscow cited this as one of the factors in eventually designating Meta as an extremist organization, affecting access to Facebook and Instagram in Russia.

The oversight board was created in 2019, as a way for Zuckerberg’s social media giant to outsource content moderation to “expert.” It is theoretically independent and consists of 40 people from all over the world.

Documents released in recent months have shown that the US government, intelligence agencies and even political operatives have all influenced social media companies to ban certain people, ideas or phrases. The process was based on false allegations of “Russian interference” in the 2016 US presidential election.

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