February 10, 2024 | Flash Brief

Meta Removes Khamenei’s Instagram and Facebook Accounts

February 10, 2024 | Flash Brief

Meta Removes Khamenei’s Instagram and Facebook Accounts

Latest Developments

Meta announced on February 8 that it removed Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s Facebook and Instagram accounts for violating its content policy. “We have removed these accounts for repeatedly violating our Dangerous Organizations & Individuals policy,” a Meta spokesperson told Agence France-Presse. Meta’s official policy states: “In an effort to prevent and disrupt real-world harm, we do not allow organizations or individuals that proclaim a violent mission or are engaged in violence to have a presence on our platforms.” While the regime in Iran blocks social media access for its citizens and criminalizes VPN use, many regime officials frequently post on the same platforms they have banned.  

Expert Analysis

“While the removal of Khamenei from Instagram and Facebook likely occurred due to violations of Meta’s content policy, it is one of those rare moves that advance both U.S. strategy and U.S. values in the Middle East. There is zero reason why Khamenei and other regime elites should be permitted to spread their invective and hate speech on social media and reach millions abroad, while they repress free speech at home and limit access to these platforms. Let us hope this inspires other social media platforms to take note.” — Behnam Ben Taleblu, FDD Senior Fellow

“While the Iranian regime persecutes civic activists for voicing their discontent, Khamenei and other officials hypocritically exploit social media platforms to spread hate and disinformation. X ought to follow through and permanently suspend Khamenei’s accounts, to further isolate the regime’s propaganda arm and prevent it from spreading dangerous narratives.” — Janatan Sayeh, FDD Research Analyst

Khamenei’s History of Spreading Hate and Disinformation Online

Khamenei has a track record of spreading hate and antisemitism on various social media platforms in multiple languages. On October 7, Khamenei posted a video of Israeli Nova Festival concertgoers fleeing from Hamas terrorists on his X account. He captioned it: “God willing, the cancer of the usurper Zionist regime will be eradicated at the hands of the Palestinian people and the Resistance forces throughout the region.” In 2020, Instagram temporarily suspended Khamenei’s French language account after he equated Holocaust denial with perceived insults against the Prophet Muhammad. In 2019, Khamenei published a series of posts on X in support of French Holocaust denier Roger Garaudy.

Tehran severely punishes anyone who posts content critical of the regime. For instance, the Human Rights Activists News Agency reported that Iranian security forces arrested at least 76 social media users and summoned 108 others for allegedly “publishing offensive and anti-regime content online” following ISIS-K’s twin suicide bombings that killed 94 Iranians during the anniversary of General Qassem Soleimani’s death on January 3.

Mapping Protests in Iran,” by Mark Dubowitz

Iran Executes Four Men Falsely Accused of Mossad Ties,” FDD Flash Brief

Iran’s Judiciary Poised to Gouge Out Eye of Protestor as Executions Surge,” FDD Flash Brief


Iran Iran Human Rights Iran Politics and Economy