Business News/ News / World/  Meta Oversight Board allows 'death to Khamenei' Facebook post amid Iran protests

As protests in Iran continue, many have become vocal in their criticism of the hardline administration. Against this backdrop, a Facebook post that used the slogan "death to Khamenei" has become a bone of contention for the company. Meta's Oversight Board on Monday overturned the company's decision to remove the post, contending that it did not violate a rule barring violent threats.

The board, which is funded by Meta but operates independently, ruled that the phrase was political rather than violent. It also urged the company to develop better ways of factoring such context into its content policies and outline clearly when rhetorical threats against heads of state were permitted.

"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 wrote.

The recent protests in Iran have posed one of the biggest challenges to the government since the 1979 revolution. Demonstrations have continued in the Shi'ite Muslim-ruled Islamic Republic since mid-September, following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while in detention for wearing "inappropriate attire".

For Meta, the situation has created a now-familiar conundrum with the company wavering repeatedly over its treatment of violent political rhetoric on platforms. The company bans language that incites "serious violence" but aims to avoid overreach by limiting enforcement to credible threats, leaving ambiguity around when and how the rule applies.

Meanwhile, international criticism against the Iran government continues to grow as more and more protesters are sentenced to death. Iran's judiciary sentenced three more anti-government agitators to death for "waging war on God" on Monday.

Two others were hanged on Saturday as Iran attempts to stamp out demonstrations. The protests have incidentally slowed considerably since the government began executions carried out just weeks after arrests.

(With inputs from agencies)

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Updated: 09 Jan 2023, 05:59 PM IST
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