Facebook Allows Calls for Violence Against Russian Leaders

The parent company of Facebook and Instagram, Meta  will now allow users in some countries to call for violence against Vladimir Putin and Russian soldiers over Ukraine’s invasion. 

The policy decision was immediately met with controversy and Russia’s embassy in the United States is demanding that Washington stop the “extremist activities” of the Facebook owner.

Meta says, “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,'” it in a statement. However, it says it won't permit calls for violence against Russian civilians.

The announcement came after Reuters news agency said it had seen internal emails outlining the policy shift. "In light of the ongoing invasion of Ukraine, we made a temporary exception for those affected by the war, to express violent sentiments towards invading armed forces," a Meta spokesperson told the BBC.

Under the amended policy, users in countries including Russia, Ukraine and Poland will also be able to call for the deaths of Russia's President Putin and Belarusian President Lukashenko. 

The internal emails reportedly said calls for the leaders' deaths will be allowed unless they contain other targets, or included a location or methods.Calls for violence against Russians are also allowed when the post is clearly references the invasion of Ukraine, the emails reportedly said. "We demand that US authorities stop the extremist activities of Meta, take measures to bring the perpetrators to justice," Russia's embassy in the US tweeted... 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," it stated.

Russia announced recently that it was blocking Facebook and its platforms, citing 26 cases of "discrimination" against Russian media by Facebook since October 2020. While access to the site had already been restricted in Russia, it was not completely unavailable.

Reuters:     BBC:      Independent:      Al Jazeera:     Sky:    Business Insider:       CBS

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