The social media company Meta banned all English and Persian Instagram and Facebook accounts belonging to the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Thursday.
Speaking to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), a spokesperson for Meta said that the company removed the accounts for “repeatedly violating our Dangerous Organizations & Individuals policy.”
The social media company did not mention or reference the Iran-backed terrorist group Hamas for the removal of the Supreme Leader of Iran’s account; however, the head of the Islamic Republic has praised the terrorist organization’s brutal massacre against the Jewish state of Israel on Oct. 7, which resulted in the deaths of 1,200 Israelis and hundreds taken hostage and brought to Gaza.
“The decision to ban the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei, from Meta platforms signifies a significant development for Iranians, both domestically and internationally,” said Sarah Raviani, engagement coordinator and visiting fellow at the National Union for Democracy in Iran (NUFDI).
According to reports, Khamenei’s Persian language account on Instagram contained more than 5 million followers. The Ayatollah is still active on X (formerly Twitter), putting out messages to demonize Israel and praise Hamas amid the ongoing war. Following Oct 7 and Israel’s ground incursion into the Gaza Strip, Meta said it would remove groups who “praise” and provide “substantive support” for Hamas and their actions.
“Within Iran, citizens contend with state-sanctioned restrictions on nearly all social media and communication platforms, contrasting sharply with regime officials who have enjoyed unrestricted global communication access,” Raviani told The Foreign Desk.
In response to the actions by Meta, Mohammad Marandi, an academic and former Islamic Republic advisor, said the social media company was hypocritical with its ban, arguing that Israeli officials had not faced similar restrictions over their support for their country’s actions in Gaza.
“Many thousands of Iranians, including myself, have had their Facebook and Instagram accounts suspended or deleted. So, this isn’t unexpected,” Marandi told Middle East Eye (MEE).
“Ayatollah Khamenei is the only world leader that supports and empowers the resistance in Palestine. That is his crime,” he added.
According to Raviani, the action by Meta “serves to equalize the communication landscape and offset regime propaganda, effectively muting the primary voice of a regime widely regarded as one of the world’s most oppressive and authoritarian.”
“A natural next step would be for other platforms, such as X, to suspend the accounts of Ali Khamenei and other regime officials,” Raviani told The Foreign Desk.
Since Oct. 7, members of the Islamic Republic have openly praised Hamas for their attack, calling on Arab and Muslim nations to support the terrorist organization against Israel. Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) officials have called on terrorist proxies in Yemen, Lebanon, Iraq, and Syria to attack Israeli and American forces.