Brown History is an Instagram page that serves as an online archive of South Asian history. It tells tales from the Subcontinent and has over 500,000 avid followers. But the page recently fell victim to Instagram's crackdown on pages criticising Israel.
The page is run by a young man named Ahsun. His access to the account was suspended and later reinstated, but the delay was enough to get Instagram users fired up.
What happened in between was an eruption of the internet's dissatisfaction and anger at the action by Instagram. People called the platform out across social media, urging for it to unblock the page and stop its crackdown of pro-Palestine voices on the social media platforms.
The admin of the page announced the news on their alternate Instagram page, the Brown History Podcast. "My Instagram account @brownhistory has me blocked from accessing it," they said.
"I'm not sure exactly what the cause is but it's probably from the heat caused by the constant uploads of posts supporting oppressed communities and peoples, such as Palestine," he wrote, regretting the inconvenience this may have caused for the page's followers.
Adding that the page contains three years worth of researching and curating efforts, the admin said he was trying endlessly to gain control of his page again.
"It was a space full of history and culture and a medium to share your personal stories and I hope to see you all very soon."
Brown History was proactive in addressing the Palestine-Israel crisis, using their channel to call out the Zionist state for its atrocities and violent crimes against humanity. It was very closely following the updates from Palestine too, using the page to broadcast them to their 500,000 plus followers globally. Reports poured in of Instagram limiting viewership on posts championing the cause of Palestine and then Instagram went a step further and started removing those pages.
The ban came right after the page uploaded a collection of memes, highlighting a shockingly symbolic statement made by a Jewish settler.
When Brown History met that fate, fans and followers weren't going to sit down and watch quietly — they rose for an internet protest.
Users were outraged at the idea that calling out Israel goes against "community guidelines" while hate speech from Israel finds fertile grounds on social media.
"Stop censoring voices supporting Palestine!" this user proclaimed.
"Censorship isn't a pretty look," this user said calling out Instagram.
Several celebrities also took to Instagram to share the news, including Ali Sethi.
A day later, the page was back up online and the admin had control once again. When the page got back up online, it resumed on the same note it was banned on. "And we're back!" the page announced, uploading a photo of Mark Zuckerberg holding up a phone with the Brown History page open. A speech bubble says, "If I don't steal it, someone else will."
"I woke up yesterday morning to a pop-up saying it was "under review" and no access to my account or my posts," the admin wrote, speculating that his last post, the set of memes, could have been the reason for the ban.
"This is a really unique place where we, as a community, are re-writing history."
Thanking his fans and followers who stood with him, he said, "Hope Zuckerberg doesn't kick me out for this meme too."
Brown History is not the only page to have suffered this fate. Another account whose name often appears alongside Brown History's is Saltafa, a Pakistani meme page run by a 19-year-old. The page was banned for its pro-Palestinian posts and highlighting of the apartheid state's neglect of human life.
Having worked four hard years to get the page where it was, in a later tweet the page owner said, "I just feel numb, and weird and I don’t even know."
The recent escalation in violence in Palestine and the global response to it has proven that it isn't a regional issue. People are getting censored for speaking about Palestine but there are thousands of voices who refuse to be suppressed.