Was a video, showing people in Wales singing in support of Palestine, blurred to comply with Sharia law -- to hide the bare legs of the women who were wearing shorts? No, that's not true: The video was first posted on TikTok without the blurring and was apparently added when another account reuploaded the video to Instagram, a platform with a policy of limiting the reach of Reels videos carrying watermarks and logos -- a sign which may indicate the content is recycled. Because the blurring does not consistently obscure all of the women's bare legs in the scene or only their bare legs, there is no evidence the blurring served any purpose other than removing a watermark.
The video was first posted on TikTok on August 20, 2023, by @alurrehman193 (archived here). Months later the video resurfaced on X (archived here), when it was posted by @DrEliDavid on January 1, 2024. The X post was captioned:
Palestinians share video of a pro-Palestinian protest in Wales 🏴 👇
But they blur women's legs, because exposed legs are immodest according to Sharia law 🤣
This fact check only concerns the placement of the blurred areas in the video, not whether women's exposed legs are against Sharia law.
The @alurrehman193 account which first shared the video on TikTok shares videos from protests in the United Kingdom. The posts pinned at the top of their feed have many hashtags including #thebigride4palestine -- a 140-mile bicycle ride from Swansea to Bristol that took place from August 3-6, 2023. In two of these videos, a rendition of the Italian folk song and partisan anthem, "Bella Ciao" is sung in support of Palestine. This video shows when the cyclists were received and sang at the Wattsville Football Club during the 2023 ride.
The X post by @DrEliDavid was reposted directly from the account Palestine Online. They made the post on X (archived here) back on August 23, 2023. Palestine Online received many critical comments at the time regarding the blurring in the video. One person wrote:
Are you seriously censoring the legs of women who support free Palestine? Incredibly shameful, wouldn't expect this from you.
Note: This video is not blurred or edited by Palestine Online.
Video source: @FalastiniTV on Instagram
(Source: Twitter screenshot taken on Tue Jan 02 19:12:34 2024 UTC)
The above post links to the @FalastiniTV account on X, but not their account or the video mentioned on Instagram. At the time of this writing, January 2, 2024, the video does not appear on the @FalastiniTV X account or Instagram account so it is not possible to verify if the video was found on Instagram and was already blurred, as claimed by Palestine Online. The shared video does bear the logo of the @FalastiniTV channels. The Arabic script and music note watermark say, "Palestinian".
Throughout the 0:54 second long video, the type of blur, the position in the frame, and the size of the blurred area change, but these changes do not mirror the position of the women's legs in the frame. In the Lead Stories composite image below, six screenshots taken from the blurred copy of the video show the arbitrary placement of the blur in relation to the bare legs.
Sometimes the blur does obscure legs, and other times there is a blur and legs are not obscured. This suggests the reason for the blurring was to comply with the Instagram Creators "best practices" which were announced in a post on February 9, 2021. The third slide in the announcement lists four things that will cause a video to not be recommended in the Instagram reels tab. Second on the list is to not post a reel that "is visibly recycled from other apps (i.e. contains logos or watermarks)."