The Facebook parent company, Meta Platforms will now allow Instagram and Facebook users in certain countries to call for violence against Russians and their troops under the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
In a temporary change to its hate speech policy, the company will also allow some posts that call for the death of Russian President, Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President, Alexander Lukashenko.
According to a report by Reuters, the calls for their deaths will be allowed as long as they do not contain other targets and two credibility indicators, like location and method.
“As a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, we have temporarily made allowances for forms of political expression that would normally violate our rules like violent speech such as ‘death to the Russian invaders.’ We still won’t allow credible calls for violence against Russian civilians,” said a Meta spokesperson.
The temporary policy changes on calls for violence to Russian soldiers apply to Armenia, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, and Ukraine
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Responding to the new development, the Russian embassy in the US posted a tweet demanding that the U.S Government puts a stop to Meta’s “extremist activities”.
“Users of Facebook & Instagram did not give the owners of these platforms the right to determine the criteria of truth and pit nations against each other,” the embassy tweeted.
“We are issuing a spirit-of-the-policy allowance to allow T1 violent speech that would otherwise be removed under the Hate Speech policy when: (a) targeting Russian soldiers, EXCEPT prisoners of war, or (b) targeting Russians where it’s clear that the context is the Russian invasion of Ukraine (e.g., content mentions the invasion, self-defense, etc.)
“We are doing this because we have observed that in this specific context, ‘Russian soldiers’ is being used as a proxy for the Russian military. The Hate Speech policy continues to prohibit attacks on Russians,” Meta revealed in an email.
Last week, Russia announced that it would be banning Facebook in the country because the platform had placed access restrictions on Russian media.