Meta Platforms has said it will allow Facebook and Instagram users in some countries to call for violence against Russians and Russian soldiers in the context of the Ukraine invasion, in a temporary change to its hate speech policy.
The social media company is also temporarily allowing some posts that call for death to Russian President Vladimir Putin or Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, according to internal emails to its content moderators.
"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," a Meta spokesperson said in a statement.
The calls for the leaders' deaths will be allowed unless they contain other targets or have two indicators of credibility, such as the location or method, one email said, in a recent change to the company's rules on violence and incitement.
Russia's embassy in the United States demanded that Washington stop Meta’s "extremist activities" of Meta, although faced with a choice I would have thought someone calling for my death online is better than someone shelling my pregnant wife when she is giving birth and then blaming me.
"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," the embassy said on Twitter in a message that was also shared by their India office.
The temporary policy changes only applies if you live in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, and Ukraine.
Since I live in Italy I am only allowed to say, “Long Live Tsar Putin” because Facebook is American and can't detect sarcasm.
Last week, Russia said it was banning Facebook in the country in response to what it said were restrictions of access to Russian media on the platform. Moscow has cracked down on tech companies, including Twitter, which said it is restricted in the country, during its invasion of Ukraine, which it calls a "special operation."