Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Image Credit: AFP

San Francisco: Meta on Thursday said it had removed the Facebook and Instagram accounts of Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei for violating its content policy.

"We have removed these accounts for repeatedly violating our Dangerous Organisations & Individuals policy," a Meta spokesperson told AFP.

Though Meta did not mention the Israel-Hamas war, the company has been under pressure to ban the leader ever since the October 7 attack by Hamas on Israel.

After the attack, Khamenei supported the bloody rampage by Hamas, but denied any Iranian involvement.

He has also publicly supported Palestinian retaliation against Israel's bombardment of Gaza as well as attacks on shipping in the Red Sea by Yemen's Huthi rebels.

Khamenei, in power in Iran for 35 years, has five million followers on Instagram.

"In an effort to prevent and disrupt real-world harm, we do not allow organisations or individuals that proclaim a violent mission or are engaged in violence to have a presence on our platforms," says the policy on which Meta based its decision.

It also says it will "remove glorification, support and representation of various dangerous organisations and individuals."

Hamas is designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the United States.

Instagram and Facebook are banned in Iran, but Iranians use virtual private networks, or VPNs, to evade restrictions and access prohibited websites or apps, including the US-owned Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.