Facebook, Instagram allow posts urging violence against Russian leaders, soldiers
In a temporary change to its hate speech policy, Meta has allowed Facebook and Instagram users from select countries to call for violence against Russian soldiers and leaders. Users will be able to post as well as share hateful and violent speech against 'Russian invaders' and the content moderators of Facebook and Instagram will not take down such posts, barring a few exceptions.
Why does this story matter?
Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, has adjusted its content rules, allowing hate speech and violent posts, including calls for the death of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The current change in hate speech policy shows how different platforms are tackling content originating from the invading countries or those affected by invasion. Russia recently banned Facebook but Instagram and WhatsApp are still active.
Why has Meta adopted this stance?
"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,'" Andy Stone, a Meta spokesman, said in a statement. However, Facebook and Instagram "will not allow credible calls for violence against Russian civilians." All such posts will be removed.
What kind of posts will be allowed?
"We are issuing a spirit-of-the-policy allowance to allow T1 violent speech that would otherwise be removed under the Hate Speech policy...," Meta said in an email to its moderators. Posts targeting Russian soldiers, except prisoners of war, will be allowed. Also, posts "targeting Russians where it is clear that the context is the Russian invasion of Ukraine" will also be allowed.
Policy change applies to users from select countries
According to Stone, the change in hate speech policy applies to users living in Ukraine, Russia, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Slovakia, Hungary as well as Romania. However, there is no official word on how long the new content policy will be in effect.
Users can even call for the death of President Putin
According to Reuters, Facebook and Instagram users will also be able to call for the deaths of Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus. However, the posts will be allowed if they do not target any other leader and they do not reveal the "indicators of credibility" i.e. how and where the act will take place.
Russia has demanded US authorities to stop Meta's "extremist activities"
"We demand US authorities stop the extremist activities of Meta and take measures to bring the perpetrators to justice. Users of Facebook and Instagram did not give owners of these platforms the right to determine the criteria of truth and pit nations against each other," Russian Embassy in the USA posted on Twitter. The same message was also shared by Russian Embassy in India.