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Oversight Board tells Facebook to allow “death to Khamenei”

New ruling suggests allowing users to call for the death of Iran's leader because people mean it figuratively.

’s Oversight Board overturned the company’s decision to remove a post on with the slogan “death to Khamenei.” The board said that the slogan, which is used to criticize the Iranian leader, did not violate the rule against violent threats.

“In the context of the post, and the broader social, political and linguistic situation in , ‘marg bar Khamenei’ should be understood as ‘down with.’ It is a rhetorical, political slogan, not a credible threat,” the board wrote.

There have been demonstrations in Iran since last September, following the death of a 22-year-old woman in police custody. The woman had been arrested for violating the country’s strict headscarf law.

During the protests, demonstrators called for the end of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s rule.

The board called on the company to establish better methods of factoring in context into its policies and to clearly state when rhetorical threats against leaders are allowed.

Meta bans language that incites violence but says it avoids overreach by limiting enforcement of the policy to credible threats, resulting in the arbitrary enforcement of the policy.

For example, last year, the company temporarily allowed calls for the death of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The decision was reversed after a few days.

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