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Meta oversight board says ‘death to Khamenei’ posts do not violate terms of service

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Meta’s Oversight Board, the body tasked with decisions on what is and is not acceptable to post on Meta’s social media platforms, announced this week that posts calling for the death of Iranian leader Ali Hosseini Khamenei do not violate the platforms’ terms of service.

The independent Oversight Board, which acts as Meta’s high court, made the decision on January 9 that a July 2022 post depicting the Iranian leader with his beard gripping a blindfolded and chained Iranian woman and captioned  “marg bar… Khamenei” which translates to “death to Khamenei.” 

The debate the post stirred was over whether the phrase, often used in political protests in some parts of the world, was meant to to be taken literally or as it is frequently used, as another way of saying “down with Khamenei.”

The Oversight Board announced its decision this week, saying Today the Board overturned Meta’s original decision to remove a post containing the slogan “marg bar Khamenei” which literally translates as “death to Khamenei.”

The Board recommends that Meta permit the general use of the slogan on its platforms during protests in Iran.

Iran has been mired in protests since September, when a woman in Iranian federal custody died under mysterious circumstances after being detained for wearing her hijab incorrectly. Iranian officials have responded harshly, executing four individuals so far for protesting against the Iranian government.

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