Facebook, Instagram to allow posts calling for violence against Russian soldiers and Putin

Russia slams Meta’s “extremist policies.”

By David Hellerman, World Israel News

Meta Platforms, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram,  will allow users in certain countries to post messages advocating violence against Russian soldiers and Russian and Belarusian leaders, Reuters reported on Friday.

The report was based on an internal email seen by Reuters that was sent to moderators.

The email stressed that the policy change only applies to users in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, and Ukraine.

“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.

According to the report, calls for the deaths of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko “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.”

The email further stated, “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.).

“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,” it added.

The Russian embassy in Washington slammed Meta’s policy change and called on the U.S. to stop Meta’s “extremist policies.”

“The company’s actions are yet another evidence of the information war without rules declared on our country,” the embassy said in a statement.

Russia banned Facebook last week and placed restrictions on Twitter in response to Western sanctions on Russian media.

Meta also owns WhatsApp and Messenger, both widely-used messaging applications.