- The slogan is commonly used to criticize the political regime.
- Meta has dealt with hate speech and violence for years.
The Oversight Board of Meta Platforms Inc. reversed the decision to remove a Facebook post that used the slogan “death to Khamenei” to criticize Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as not violating a rule prohibiting violent threats.
The board, which is funded by Meta but operates independently, said that in the context of the “broader social, political and linguistic situation” in Iran, “death to” should be understood as “down with,” according to a letter to the decision.
The slogan “marg bar Khamenei” is commonly used as a criticism of the political regime rather than a threat to the ayatollah’s security, the junta determined.
Meta did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Iranians have been taking to the streets in a series of historic protests after the Iranian national government’s moral police arrested 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, claiming she was dressed inappropriately. Amini died three days later after collapsing and falling into a coma.
To suppress dissent, the Iranian government blocked access to online services, including Instagram and WhatsApp. Facebook, Twitter, and Telegram have been banned in Iran since 2009. Some Iranians use tools like virtual private networks, or VPNs, to circumvent restrictions
The company faced criticism for how its platforms were used to spread false narratives in the months leading up to the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
The board said the “death to” statements used during events such as the Capitol riots were different from Khamenei’s slogan because politicians were clearly at risk and “death to” is not a phrase generally used in English-language political rhetoric.