December 27, 2023
From World Socialist Web Site

Instagram, the photo and video sharing social media platform owned by Meta, has shut down the account of political activist Shaun King for speaking out against the Israeli genocide of Palestinians in Gaza.

Shaun King [Photo by Jp16103 / CC BY-SA 4.0]

Best known for his advocacy of movements associated with the Democratic Party such as Black Lives Matter, King had an Instagram following of nearly six million users before his profile was removed on Christmas Eve.

In a video comment posted to the account of a friend on Christmas, King said, “Frustrated that Instagram has banned me for fighting for Palestine and speaking up for the human rights and dignity of Palestinians, but I refuse to betray my values and principles by staying silent about this genocide and the war crimes in Gaza and the West Bank.”

He added, “You can NEVER mince words about genocide. You can never mince words about war crimes. You MUST speak truth to power every way you know how.”

In an email sent to the New York Post, a Meta spokesperson confirmed the shutdown in typically opaque language, “The account was disabled due to multiple instances of praise for designated entities in violation of our policies.” The Meta representative did not specify the nature of King’s purported policy violations.

In a statement on Facebook, where his account remains active, King stated, “I am told by my sources inside of Meta that they are tracking my IP address and will delete anything I say anywhere I say it. 
 In partnership with young men and women on the ground in Gaza yesterday (Christmas Eve) we decided together all day long that we would show the world just how awful Israel and the United States were. And yesterday was one of the single deadliest days, particularly for children, of this 80 day genocide. It was one of the most brutal days I’ve ever witnessed in my entire life. And I’ve done human rights work for 25 years.”

In an email to NBC News on Tuesday, King wrote, “I formally appealed the night of the suspension, but have also now retained attorneys to proceed with the Civil Rights Division of the legal team at Meta.”

To get a sense of the politics behind Meta’s decision, Roya News reported that King and his family have faced daily death threats for speaking out against the ethnic cleansing by the US-backed Israeli government in Gaza. Among the slanderous accusations that have been made against him, Roya News reported, is “the spreading of misleading information by the Tel Aviv army, including a video falsely claiming monetary donations from him.”

The censorship of Shaun King by Instagram and Meta is directly connected with his truthful exposure of the genocide being carried out by the Zionist military. For example, on October 29, King reposted an aerial photograph of the destruction of an entire Palestinian neighborhood in which he wrote that the area was “carpet bombed by the US and Israel.”

He went on, “And this is indisputable evidence of a war crime. It’s why Israel and the US are killing journalists and cutting off the Internet. It is illegal to do this. It violates dozens of international laws. EVERY NATION IN THE WORLD KNOWS THIS.”

On this Facebook post, King received more than 6,000 likes and more than 1,000 comments, the majority of which are supportive. For example, these comments include the following:

“Thank you Shaun for speaking truth to power. Yes we must stand up for the innocent people of Palestine!”

“Thank you for showing the world what is happening. They think by shutting down your account that they have silenced you but they have not. They have only proved that they know they are wrong and now they have sent the clean up crew to clean up and try to hide their secrets. We know. We know. We already know.”

The move by Meta to silence King is out of desperation and fear. Acting on behalf of the interests of the ruling elite and US imperialism, Meta is seeking to block King’s audience from hearing the truth about the murder of civilians in Gaza as part of a preplanned operation of the Zionist state of Israel to remove all Palestinians from the area.

As reported here on December 22, Human Rights Watch published a report entitled “Meta’s Broken Promises: Systemic Censorship of Palestine Content on Instagram and Facebook” that details the ongoing silencing of pro-Palestinian voices on its platform. This censorship includes, according to the report, “a pattern of undue removal and suppression of protected speech including peaceful expression in support of Palestine and public debate about Palestinian human rights.”

This censorship is part of the pro-Zionist and imperialist fraud that is seeking to pollute public consciousness with the lie that opposition to Israeli war crimes in Gaza—which has now reached a death toll of 20,000 people, the majority of whom are women and children—is antisemitic.

It is now clear that the effort mounted over the past seven years by the major tech companies—including Google, Twitter, Meta and others—to remove and stifle political content in the name of promoting “authoritative news sources” is being aimed directly against left-wing, anti-war and pro-Palestinian individuals who refuse to accept the official propaganda lies about the events that have taken place in Israel and Gaza since October 7.