Palestine-Dutch supermodel Bella Hadid criticised Instagram for taking down a picture of her father’s passport, in which his birthplace was listed as Palestine. After she lashed out at the platform for “silencing history”, Instagram apologised and acknowledged that the post was wrongly removed.
The 23-year-old model had shared an image of her father’s old passport. Though her father – real estate mogul Mohammed Hadid – had an American passport, the place of birth listed was Palestine, and Bella wrote that she was proud of her roots.
However, the post was taken down and Bella was told that it violated the platform’s community guidelines. Hadid shared a screenshot of the message she received from Instagram, which cited violations of community guidelines, including harassment and bullying.
Slamming the app, she wrote: “Instagram removed my story that only said ‘My baba And his birthplace of Palestine’ with a photograph of his American passport. Are we not allowed to be Palestinian on Instagram? This, to me, is bullying.”
She also added, “You can’t erase history by silencing people. It doesn’t work like that.”
In a later post, she wondered if the app wants her father to change his birthplace. Resharing the picture, she wrote “I love Palestine” and urged her followers to post where their parents were born.
View this post on Instagram
Drove from the city yesterday with all of my siblings to support our Baba speaking at @harvard . He spoke about his life and his many accomplishments but most importantly his journey as a refugee from Palestine. The most emotional part, for me, was hearing about his proudest moment as an architect; building the @hijrahva Mosque in Virginia in 1991. The fact that it still stands tall, as a safe place for Muslims& refugees to feel protected and comfortable, makes me the proudest daughter in the world. Baba, Thank you for constantly teaching &showing me the true beauty and truth of the Muslim/ Palestinian community; I can’t wait to continue to follow in your footsteps. Thank you @israspeaks for your question, contribution and all that you do. Your words speak volumes and I can’t wait to follow all that you do in the world !!! Thank you to @harvardarabalumni & everyone of the board for welcoming us. This day was beyond inspiring ✔️❤️
Many users reshared Bella’s photos and praised the model for speaking out against Instagram’s decision. Screenshots of her Instagram stories were being circulated.
A spokesperson for Instagram’s parent company Facebook said that content is not removed based on people’s nationality or ethnicity, nor was Hadid’s content removed because of its reference to Palestine.
“To protect the privacy of our community, we don’t allow people to post personal information, such as passport numbers, on Instagram,” a company spokesperson said in a statement to E! News following outrage online. However, the spokesperson acknowledged the post was wrongly removed.
“In this case the passport number was blurred out, so this content shouldn’t have been removed,” the spokesperson said, adding that they’d restored the picture and apologised to the supermodel.
Earlier this year, members of the Sikh community were outraged after they found that #Sikh was blocked on Instagram. Following a worldwide campaign, which alleged bias by the company, Instagram apologised for the ‘mistake’ and admitted the hashtag had been blocked for almost three months. However, no answers have been provided till date about why the hashtag violated Instagram’s community guidelines.
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