“Eye on Palestine” briefly suspended by Instagram for ‘not following’ guidelines

Social media giant Instagram on Wednesday briefly suspended Eye on Palestine, an account with over three million followers that highlights Israeli abuses against Palestinians.

“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,” read a screenshot shared by a back-up account.

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

The brief ban comes just days after an internal Meta report found that Facebook and Instagram policies during Israel’s attacks on Palestine in May last year harmed the fundamental rights of Palestinians. In May last year, Meta was widely accused of censorship and bias during Israel’s assault on Gaza, which killed 256 Palestinians, including 66 children.

“It was no surprise when a recent official investigation confirmed Meta’s systemic violation of Palestinian human rights on social media. Yet instead of accountability and recourse, Facebook and Instagram doubled down on this censorship by deleting Eye on Palestine, a volunteer-led platform with over 3 million followers,” read a statement by Eye on Palestine.

It went on to say: “Since 2014, we have provided a rare insight into the lives of Palestinians under the Israeli colonial regime, whose daily suffering and struggle are intentionally kept out of the mainstream media cycle and targeted by social media corporations-often at the request of authoritarian governments. The cyber crackdown on Palestinian political expression echoes the same repression on the ground; our reporting is policed, persecuted, and even criminalized. Yet, despite Instagram’s racist rules and algorithms, we continue contributing to the global shift in opinion on Palestine.”

“We at Eye on Palestine refuse to be silenced. We demand justice for our platform and all Palestinian content erased by Instagram. Above all, we demand a fundamental and systemic change in how media institutions handle Palestinian content. The more you silence us, the louder we get,” read the statement by Eye on Palestine.