‘Death to Putin and Lukashenko’ or calls of violence against ‘Russian soldiers’ are allowed
Meta Platforms will allow Facebook and Instagram users in some regions to call for violence against specific figures in the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
In a change to its hate speech policy, the social media company will also temporarily allow some posts that call for the death of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin or Belarusia’s leader President Alexander Lukashenko, according to emails seen by Reuters.
“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,’” a Meta spokesperson said.
“We still won’t allow credible calls for violence against Russian civilians.”
Calls for the leaders’ deaths will be allowed unless they contain other targets or have two indicators of credibility, such as the location or method.
In response, Russia’s embassy in the United States demanded that Washington stop the “extremist activities” of Meta.
“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 said on Twitter.
The temporary policy changes apply to users in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, and Ukraine.
“We are issuing a spirit-of-the-policy allowance to allow T1 violent speech… 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,” Meta said in an email.
“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.”