Shaun King’s 6 million followers on Instagram (IG) woke up on Christmas morning to find the activist’s account had been banned and deactivated by the photo- and video-based social media platform.
In a subsequent Facebook post, King explained that “Instagram has banned me for fighting for Palestine, and speaking up for the human rights and dignity of Palestinians.”
King has devoted his IG in recent months to documenting the plight of Palestinians amid the conflict in Gaza. IG banning King came as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed his country’s military is “not stopping” attacks on areas where Palestinians have been trying to seek refuge from violence.
It was unclear what exactly prompted IG’s parent company Meta to ban King’s account there while keeping his Facebook account active. Facebook is also owned and operated by Meta.
An email sent by NewsOne to Meta requesting comment was not immediately returned.
In the Facebook post, King accused Israel of “genocide” and said he had been using his IG account to help show the world the atrocities faced by Palestinians who were also using their accounts to share the unspeakable imagery of death and injuries, including those of children.
“My goal and hope was to always be a cover for Palestinians in Gaza who simply cannot afford to lose their accounts,” King wrote on Facebook early Monday morning. “They are documenting their own genocide. And our working theory was that I would go as hard as humanly possible to provide a cover for everybody else there in Gaza and the West Bank. Doing so was my honor. I speak daily to 100+ Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank and have grown to love them like my own family.”
King suggested that his IG account being banned will be the start of similar action towatd the very people he said he’s trying to help.
“Now my fear is that Meta may come for Palestinians now even more than they already are,” King added.
See King’s full Facebook post below:
The same video was shared from another IG account with a written message encouraging people to “go harder for Palestine than ever before.”
Recent estimates put the death toll at more than 20,000 Palestinians since the militant Hamas group launched an attack on Israel on Oct. 7.
“The deaths, amounting to nearly 1% of the territory’s prewar population, are just one measure of the devastation wrought by the conflict that over 11 weeks has displaced nearly 85% of Gaza’s people and leveled wide swaths of the tiny coastal enclave,” CBS News reported.
King, who has for years been dogged by allegations of online fundraising scams, is among a growing number of Black Americans who are showing solidarity with the Palestinian people, whose experiences in the face of terror have been likened to the Black experience in the U.S.
The Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) has addressed the spiraling humanitarian crisis in Gaza by not only calling for the violence to end in no uncertain terms but also calling out the role the U.S. is and has been playing in the Middle East for decades.
Condemning “the nearly century-long genocidal occupation of Palestine by the right-wing Israeli government,” M4BL demanded a ceasefire.
In a recent conversation with NewsOne, minister, activist and scholar Nyle Fort offered a nuanced explanation of the long-reciprocated solidarity between Palestinian people and Black people in the United States despite the American government’s longstanding support of Israel.
“African-descendant people have a long tradition of standing on the side of the oppressed,” Fort said while emphasizing how that type of shared trauma can bond Black folks with the Palestinian people.
“Black people, who’ve been on the underside of American democracy, who have precisely known what democracy is because we know what democracy is not … we know that every life is precious,” Fort concluded. “So as we learn more and more about the political situation, let’s never lose sight of what this is really about: It’s about defending, protecting, affirming the beauty and the humanity of Palestinian people and of all people.”
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