Facebook and Instagram allow posts calling for the “death of Russian invaders”

The Meta Group confirmed that moderation services would “show leniency to forms of political expression that would normally violate our rules on violent speech”.

Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, announced on Thursday that it would make exceptions to its policies on incitement to violence and hatred by not deleting posts hostile to the military and Russian leaders. †As a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, we are lenient on forms of political expression that would normally violate our rules for violent expression, such as ‘death to Russian invaders’“Confirmed to AFP Andy Stone, Head of Communications at Meta.

We will not continue to allow credible calls for violence against Russian civiliansMeta’s statement comes after a Reuters report was published citing emails exchanged by content moderators at the social media giant claiming the rule update applied to Armenia.Azerbaijan, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Latvia , Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia and Ukraine.

Real-time adjustment

For Emerson Brooking, a scientist at the Atlantic Council, an American think tank, the exceptions allowed by Meta represent an attempt to adapt to an extremely fluid and tense situation. †Facebook tries to write rules of war in real time“Summarize this specialist in online disinformation to AFP. †War and violence are inextricably linked, it is impossible to separate them.

Emerson Brooking recognizes that there is a risk of spillover that could harm the Russian people beyond its military and political leaders alone. †Violent acts of one country against another have been observed throughout history to lead to calls for violence, intolerance or hatred against foreigners associated with the aggressor country.“, he explains. “Think of the persecution in the United States against the Germans during World War I or against the Japanese during World War II.

However, the change suggested by Facebook”clearly disapproves of calls for the dehumanization of all RussiansEmerson Brooking recalls. This is not the first time that Mark Zuckerberg’s group has tolerated this type of publication, even if the examples are rare: in June 2021, therefore, the network had authorized messages from Iranian opponents calling for the death of the Ayatollah for 2 weeks. Ali Khamenei.

Twitter has made no recent announcement regarding an update to its violent content policy. The platform did not delete a tweet last week from US Senator Lindsey Graham, in which the elected Republican called for the assassination of Russian President Vladimir Putin to end the war. Twitter later confirmed to The Daily Beast that the post does not violate its policy. The company did not immediately respond to AFP’s question.

Facebook blocked in Russia

Russia blocked Facebook on its territory last week, in retaliation for the California group’s decision to ban media close to the government (including the RT channel and the Sputnik site) in Europe. She joined the very closed club of countries that bans the largest social network in the world next to China and North Korea. Access to Twitter is severely restricted in Russia for reasons similar to Facebook blocking.

A law prohibiting the dissemination of information for the purpose of “discreditThere was also a vote last week on Russian armed forces or calls for sanctions against Moscow. Under pressure from Ukrainian politicians and activist groups, most US tech stallholders have cut ties with Moscow since the invasion of Ukraine began. Microsoft and Apple have suspended their product sales in the country, while Netflix, Intel and Airbnb have suspended operations there.

On Thursday, Google, which already no longer sells ads in Russia, announced to app developers that it would be suspending “in the coming days» payment options in its online store in the country, which prevents users from purchasing apps, games or digital goods. However, Russian users can still download and use the free apps.

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