Meta to allow Facebook and Instagram users to call for violence against Russian soldiers

Meta will temporarily allow Facebook and Instagram users in some countries to call for violence against Russian soldiers, according to internal emails the company sent to its content moderators, Reuters reported

‘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 (e.g., content mentions the invasion, self-defense, etc.),’ Meta said in the email. ‘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,’ the email clarified.

Meta will also allow some posts that call for the death of Russian President Vladimir Putin or Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, ‘unless they contain other targets or have two indicators of credibility, such as the location or method’. Credible calls for violence against Russian civilians will not be allowed.

The temporary policy changes on calls for violence to Russian soldiers reportedly apply to Armenia, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, and Ukraine, according to one email.

Citing the Reuters story, Russia’s embassy in the USA stated that Meta’s change of policy is ‘yet another evidence of the information war without rules declared on our country.’ The embassy demanded that ‘the American authorities stop the extremist activities of Meta and take measures to hold those responsible for it to account.’

The embassy highlighted that ‘Users of Facebook and Instagram did not vest the management of these Internet platforms with the right to determine the criteria of truth and to pit peoples against other peoples.’