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Instagram briefly suspends Eye on Palestine for 'not following' guidelines

Meta claims Instagram account with three million followers breaches guidelines on dangerous individuals and organisations
Instagram logo in focus
An internal report by Meta, owner of Instagram, found its policies violated Palestinians' fundamental rights in 2021 (AFP/File photo)

Instagram on Wednesday briefly suspended Eye on Palestine, an account with over three million followers that highlights Israeli human rights abuses against Palestinians

A back-up account confirmed the suspension in a post on Wednesday, accompanied by a screenshot that read: “We suspended your account on 19 October 2022. There are 30 days to disagree with this decision. Your account, or activity on it, doesn’t follow our Community Guidelines on dangerous individuals and organisations.” 

Eye on Palestine was not visible to users for several hours, but was restored later on Wednesday afternoon.

Meta, Instagram’s parent company, did not respond to Middle East Eye's request for comment on the reason behind the suspension. 

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The temporary ban comes just weeks after an internal Meta report found that Facebook and Instagram policies during Israel's attacks on Gaza in May last year harmed the fundamental rights of Palestinians. 

In May 2021, Meta was widely accused of censorship and bias during Israel’s assault on Gaza, which killed 256 Palestinians, including 66 children. In Israel, 13 people were killed by Palestinian rockets, including two children.

“Meta’s actions in May 2021 appear to have had an adverse human rights impact… on the rights of Palestinian users to freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, political participation, and non-discrimination, and therefore on the ability of Palestinians to share information and insights about their experiences as they occurred,” the report said. 

It found that Meta deleted Arabic content related to last year’s violence at a much greater rate than Hebrew-language posts. 

It also said that the Dangerous Individuals and Organisations policy - the same one which Eye on Palestine fell foul of - focused mainly on Muslim entities, and therefore disproportionately impacted Palestinians. 

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