War in Ukraine: Facebook and Instagram allow violent posts against Russian military and leaders

Sylvie Claire / March. 12, 2022

Meta is making exceptions because of the war. The parent company of Facebook and Instagram announced Thursday, March 10, that it is showing leniency for forms of political expression that would normally violate [its] rules on violent speech such as 'death to Russian invaders. However, we continue to not allow credible calls for violence against Russian civilians, Andy Stone, Meta's communications manager, told AFP.
  
Last week, Russia blocked Facebook after the social networking giant banned media close to the government (including the RT channel and the Sputnik website) in Europe.
 
This statement comes after the publication of an article by Reuters, citing emails exchanged by Meta content moderators and stating that the updated rules applied to Armenia, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia and Ukraine. This is not the first time that Mark Zuckerberg's group tolerates this kind of publications, even if the examples are rare: in June 2021, the network had thus authorized for two weeks messages from Iranian opponents calling for the death of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
 
The day after the announcement, Russia announced that it was taking legal action against Meta for calling for the murders of Russians. The parent company of Facebook and Instagram has relaxed its rules on violent posts aimed at the military and Russian leaders.
 
Russia's powerful investigative committee said it was launching its investigations because of illegal calls for the murders of Russian nationals by employees of the American company Meta. The Russian prosecutor's office, meanwhile, has called for the internet giant to be classified as an extremist organization and for access to Instagram to be blocked in the country.
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