Facebook, Instagram to allow calls for violence against Russians temporarily

Associated Press/Mikhail Klimentyev- Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo

Facebook and Instagram will temporarily allow users in some countries to call for violence against Russians and Russian soldiers within the context of the war in Ukraine, a company spokesperson confirmed Thursday, a substantial shift to their rules on hate speech and violence and incitement. 

“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 spokesperson Andy Stone said in a statement. 

The update was first reported by Reuters.

Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, will also temporarily allow some posts that call for death to Russian President Vladimir Putin or Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko in Russia, Ukraine and Poland, Reuters reported, citing internal emails detailing the change.

The calls for death will not be allowed if they contain other targets or if they have two indicators of credible threats, such as the location or method, according to Reuters. 

The reported shift in policy comes as Meta and other platforms respond to the Russian invasion into Ukraine. 

Last week, Russia said it would block Facebook in the country due to the platform’s restrictions on Russian state-controlled media, which Moscow called a form of “discrimination.” 

Facebook and other tech giants have cracked down on Russian state media over the spread of disinformation about the invasion after calls from global leaders, including sanctions from the European Union.

Updated at 6:43 p.m.

Tags Facebook Instagram Mass media META Meta Platforms Post-Soviet conflicts Reuters Russia Russo-Ukrainian War State media Ukraine Ukraine invasion Vladimir Putin

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