At the time that I’m writing this — November 23, 2023, my voice has been completely silenced on Instagram for 30 days after I was fighting for the Jewish people with a path of empathy, unity, empowerment, Torah & facts. For 30 days, I have been unable to create posts, share stories, comment on posts, go live and everything else the platform offers. Instagram has also blocked people from being able to tag me in stories, I am identified as a “threat” that they need to “protect the community from”, even though I am unsure exactly which community Instagram is referring to. Unlike others, I didn’t receive a warning, suspension, or a time period of when the ban would be lifted on me. It was instantaneous and indefinite, if not permanent. It happened as I was sharing enlightening information about the Jewish people and Israel, spreading messages of peace and truth, which is particularly painful when there are others on the platform daily writing about their desire for Jewish death.
Even though my situation is very specific, I cannot continue discussing my experience without acknowledging that Jewish creators in general are facing similar experiences on social media. On social media, Jewish creators have been harassed and penalized in a very unprecedented way. What has been happening on Instagram has been very telling on how Meta operates, how antisemitism functions in the media, and which accounts receive protection versus those that do not.
It is indisputable that the violence and hatred that manifested online has translated to real-life incidents of Jews being targeted at our workplaces, higher institutions, in our neighborhoods, and in our own Jewish institutions. Protests and rallies pushing antisemitic rhetoric, advocating for violence against Jews everywhere “by any means necessary” have drawn out anti-Semites by the droves and have glorified violence against my people. In Canada, a children’s yeshiva was targeted by gunfire multiple times. Most recently, in Los Angeles, where I currently live, a pro-Hamas supporter broke into a Jewish family’s home screaming, “Free Palestine” and a Jewish man was murdered at a pro-Palestine rally. These incidents didn’t just “happen.” Social media has been the driving force behind accelerating & normalizing the current spread of the world’s oldest form of hatred.
To backtrack, on October 25, I received emails from Instagram saying that I was requesting to change my password. I have two-factor authentication so those who were trying to break into my account were unable to do so. Apparently, once they realized they couldn’t break in, they figured out a new way to get rid of my account. Towards the evening of the 25, my voice was silenced so quickly without warning that I didn’t even have time to alert my followers to what was happening to me.
This is very significant because most Jewish creators are either dealing with shadowbanning, a short-term suspension, restricted access to certain features, less visibility and also account removal.
My Instagram content isn’t sensationalist, isn’t inflammatory and I intentionally don’t share graphic videos or photos, even of the massacre of 10/7. My IG page is known as a safe space for many and I am known for trying my best to make everyone feel included. Some people also pointed out something very significant — my posts that prioritized empathy, unity, and empowerment were the ones that triggered so many hateful people. Even my posts about Orthodoxy, love and empowerment were being flagged as “community guidelines violations”, that’s the depth of the insanity of my situation.
When my voice was taken on IG, they took away all I had to truly help. IG is where I can express myself the best. It’s also where I can reach the most people looking for empowerment, growth, unity, love, spirituality & nuance. Unfortunately, because I was silenced so quickly, I saw that some of my followers felt that I abandoned them in the middle of the worldwide shiva period, some felt that I was “too scared” to fight for the Jewish people and others thought that I fell to pieces.
To those who mistakenly thought this, I want to make something clear:
NO, I DID NOT ABANDON YOU.
NO, I WAS NOT SCARED INTO SILENCE.
I was forced into silence because I was banned from posting.
I am not a Jew with trembling knees — I was never too scared to defend my people.
For the past 30 days, every day I feel like I am screaming into a pillow. I feel like I’m locked in a room with a two-way mirror that is sound-proofed so I’m speaking, and I see everyone, but no one can hear or see me. I feel useless, helpless, and devalued, and I have been kept in this state for a whole month and counting.
Some people at Meta were able to open up cases or tickets and escalated them to the proper department, but my account remains the same, I still have no voice. My situation should have been resolved, at the most, within 72 hours. Instead a month later, and my small circle of friends working to help me, I still have been completely silenced on Instagram.
I am thankful that I have the friends that I do and that they kept raising awareness and being my voice on Instagram when I cannot use my own. What is happening to me is excessive, unnecessary, unreasonable, debilitating, and paralyzing.
I do not know if I will ever regain access to my Instagram account features. I do not know if I will ever be able to post again without losing my account for another month. I have no idea what the future holds for me at this point. What I do know is:
Meta can take away my Instagram, but please note, that I will not be silenced.