Instagram deletes account of independent conflict journalism outlet Popular Front

Instagram had previously claimed the outlet’s reporting on the Hong Kong protests was “bullying and harassment.”

One of the biggest victims of big tech’s use of increasingly broad and vague rules that police “bullying,” “hate” and “harassment” has been independent journalism with on-the-ground reporting on conflicts or protests often taken down for supposedly violating these rules.

Today conflict journalism outlet Popular Front became yet another independent media outlet to fall foul of these rules and have its Instagram account, with more than 22,000 followers, wiped out.

Popular Front’s founder Jake Hanrahan broke the news that Popular Front’s Instagram account had been deleted on Twitter and described Instagram’s decision as ridiculous.

In the months before the account was deleted, Hanrahan had highlighted several examples of Instagram flagging and removing his posts for supposed violations of its community guidelines.

One post documenting police brutality against Hong Kong protestors was deemed to be “bullying or harassment” by Instagram.

Another post featuring a mock-up image of the now-deceased ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was also removed for showing “violence or dangerous organizations.”

Fans of Popular Front, like Hanrahan, are baffled by the decision and demanding that the account be restored.

The removal of Popular Front is reflective of other confusing takedowns of content that supposedly violated Instagram’s community guidelines in recent months. In September, Instagram removed a photo of people at a gun range for showing “violence of dangerous organizations”. Instagram also deleted an artist's “Free Hong Kong” art for “hate speech”.

Tom Parker

Tom Parker is a head contributor for Reclaim The Net and provides news and analysis on how we can promote free speech, stop censorship, and protect our personal data online. [email protected]