Ayman Aballi’s Pro-Palestine Video Was Taken Down

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The talk of the town today in Amman was how the recent video by Ayman Aballi was taken down—repeatedly—by Instagram. The video basically shows him making a satirical joke about taking down the Israeli government with a slipper. The video was taken down ostensibly because the portrayal of the flip flop—a callback to a leaked video by the IDF that showed Hamas fighters wearing flip flops in a tunnel—contains content that supports a terrorist group and therefore violates Instagram’s terms of service.

A Step-By-Step Breakdown of What Happened

Early on the morning of May 26th, Ayman Aballi attempted to upload his satirical slipper video. Shortly after refreshing, he found that the video had been erased. After attempting to re-upload the video and continuing to receive “Video upload failed” messages, he edited the video to see what the issue was. For the next 24 hours, Instagram—either through manual oversight or through a detection bot’s actions—failed to allow him to upload the video.

This did not stop the video from picking up steam elsewhere! Twitter and TikTok went viral with the video, reaching 100K views in under 5 hours, all the while Ayman was making comedic stories about how scared they were of some slippers.

Maybe he was right…

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Ayman aballi (@ayman_aballi)

The Bigger Picture

Instagram’s decision to ban all forms of content supporting Hamas or affiliated groups in Gaza comes during a time of greater scrutiny about such practices in the media sphere that has everyone talking. Who draws the line between a legitimate resistance group versus a terrorist organization is an important conversation to have. Yet, many have found issue with the fact that these decisions are being made in boardroom conversations in a handful of giant tech/media companies instead of being a conversation had with the community. The video’s success on TikTok, where oversight mechanisms vary greatly from Meta and Google detection systems, also puts into focus U.S. Congress’s efforts in banning the app or transferring partial ownership to U.S.-based corporations.

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