Meta narrows content moderation policy, prohibits calls for death of head of state

Facebook owner Meta Platforms on Sunday said that it plans to narrow its guidance on its content moderation that temporarily allows users in some countries to call for violence against Russian aggressors and soldiers within the context of the war in Ukraine.

The updated policy will prohibit calls for the death of a head of state, Reuters reported, citing an internal company post. 

“We are now narrowing the focus to make it explicitly clear in the guidance that it is never to be interpreted as condoning violence against Russians in general,” Meta global affairs President Nick Clegg wrote in the post, according to the news service.

“We also do not permit calls to assassinate a head of state … So, in order to remove any ambiguity about our stance, we are further narrowing our guidance to make explicit that we are not allowing calls for the death of a head of state on our platforms,” Clegg added.

The move comes after the platform announced Thursday that it was temporarily allowing users to call for violence against Russian soldiers within the context of the war. Meta also temporarily allowed users in Russia, Ukraine and Poland to post calls for death to Russian President Vladimir Putin or Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.

However, Meta said on Friday that it would need to change its content policy to only allow these posts from Ukraine, according to Reuters. 

Russia also opened a criminal case against the company that same day.

“These are difficult decisions,” Clegg said. “Circumstances in Ukraine are fast-moving. We try to think through all the consequences, and we keep our guidance under constant review because the context is always evolving.”

Clegg noted that as far as the Russian people are concerned, there would be no change to policies on hate speech.

“Meta stands against Russophobia. We have no tolerance for calls for genocide, ethnic cleansing, or any kind of discrimination, harassment, or violence towards Russians on our platform,” he said.

The policy changes came after Russia blocked Facebook’s access earlier this month amid the invasion. The country’s communications regulator has also established restrictions on Meta’s Instagram, which go into effect Monday.

Tags Facebook Instagram META Russia Social media Ukraine

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