August 15, 2022

The change does not apply to the UK

Facebook and Instagram users will be permitted to share calls for violence and Vladimir Putin’s death as Meta changes its hate speech policy.

According to leaked emails, Facebook’s parent company Meta will temporarily change its policy on hate speech in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, reports the Independent.

Via Getty

Posts calling for the death of Russian President Vladimir Putin or Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko will be permitted as long as they meet a series of stipulations. Essentially, as long as the threat is not credible, then Meta will allow it to be posted, with details that prohibit its publishing including locations, methods, and other targets.

Emails obtained by various media outlets suggest that hate speech is acceptable as long as it’s in the context of the invasion.

A portion of the leaked emails reads: “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 (eg 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 added.

The policy changes apply to Armenia, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia and Ukraine.

Meta Via Getty

“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,” Meta said in a statement.

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The US-Russian Embassy has since called for Washington to “stop the extremist activities of Meta and take measures to bring the perpetrators to justice.

“Meta’s aggressive and criminal policy leading to incitement of hatred and hostility towards Russians is outrageous,” they said. “The company’s actions are yet another evidence of the information war without rules declared on our country.”

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