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Third party content moderator claims Iran is bribing censors

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Pastor Saeed Abedini told his Instagram followers:Arm the people of Iran before it is too late and the mullah’s regime kills them all.” He soon found his online accounts erased by Mark Zuckerberg and his Meta Platform censors. (Photo: Facebook)  

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According to a recent BBC report, a Persian language employee of Telus International claimed that Iranian intelligence officials offered bribes to content moderators to remove Instagram posts from prominent journalists and social activists.

“I was offered 5,000 to 10,000 euros to delete an account. They were especially after removing Masih Alinejad.” alleged the whistleblower.

Alinejad is an Iranian American author and activist. Last year, the US Justice Department claimed that Iran tried to lure her to a third country in order to kidnap her. 

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This report comes after many Iranian activists claimed that their photos on Instagram were deleted following the protests in the country. Instagram’s owner, Meta Platforms, and Telus International, which is a third-party company contracted to moderate content, dismissed the controversy.

A spokesperson for Meta Platforms told the BBC: “We see no evidence to support these claims. Our review teams remove content that breaks our rules.”

One of the Iranians to suffer this fate was Pastor Saeed Abedini, an Iranian American Evangelical Christian who was imprisoned in Evin for his religious beliefs and subsequently released as part of former President Barack Obama’s nuclear deal. 

“I was abused on social media,” asserted the Pastor. “They shut down my account on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Whatsapp. This is because they are all part of the same company. They shut down my social media accounts at the same time the protests were happening in Ahwaz, where Iran started to kill the people randomly again. No news covered it, not in Europe and not in the US.”

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Interestingly, these social media giants claimed that Pastor Saeed Abedini’s posts about the actions of Iran against the poor people of Ahwaz constituted ‘sexually explicit content” that “violated the terms of use of the company.”

According to a Facebook notification:

“Your page has been unpublished. This is because Saeed Abedini goes against our community standards on child sexual exploitation. We don’t allow content that sexualizes children and we prevent it from being spread.”  

This is the single post marked as ‘sexually explicit’:

“Arm the people of Iran before it is too late and the mullah’s regime kills them all.”  

The pastor used to be very popular among the Iranian Evangelical community and his letter from Evin Prison was read by one billion people worldwide. Now he is reduced to having one follower on Instagram and that one person is his mother: “Now, a person who was connected to the whole world has no connections.”

Facebook deleted the account of a dissident Iranian-Christian leader Pastor Saeed Abedini. Company founder Mark Zuckerberg is frequently criticized for his platform restricting content from the political right but not from the left. Abedini stated, “The Democrats are in cahoots with them and support the Iranian government.” (Image: Supplied)

Pastor Abedini asked: “Why do they do it to me and not to others? Why don’t they do this to other pastors?   Ever since I got released from Evin Prison, I get attacked again and again. This happened even though I have not been politically active for the last several years. I am just helping churches in the Middle East region and visiting Israel.”

He claims that Iran is coming after him because he is “the only Iranian American pastor who talks like this. Neither the other Iranian pastors nor the American pastors talk like me. In American churches, they say don’t get involved in politics. And in this environment, I am the only Iranian American pastor calling for the downfall of the mullah’s regime.”

“The Democrats are in cahoots with them and support the Iranian government. And, they don’t give up on it,” he exclaimed. “I left the US three years ago, yet I am still a target.”   

“I have one message in the wake of the Iran protests and that is to overthrow the regime. Any negotiations with Iran are wrong.  We should remove them from power.”   

Rachel Avraham is a political analyst working at the Safadi Center for International Diplomacy, Research, Public Relations and Human Rights.  She is the author of “Women and Jihad: Debating Palestinian Female Suicide Bombings at the American, Israeli and Arab Media.”  

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

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