In the midst of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Instagram it’s the Facebook decided to tolerate violent comments and hate speech directed at the Russian government and army. That means users can even threaten the president Vladimir Putin of death without being punished on social media. However, there are some exceptions.
This new rule of Meta — the parent company of Facebook and Instagram — is temporary and is only valid for comments that target the russian government and as Armed Forces of Russia and Belarus. Hate speech directed at civilians from both countries is still prohibited and could result in banning from the platforms.
It is worth noting that threats aimed at the President of Russia, Vladimir Putinor the President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, will only be tolerated if they are not very detailed. Violent comments that mention specific locations or methods of violence against both rulers will be deleted.
An internal communication from Meta obtained by Reuters says the following:
“As a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, we temporarily allowed forms of political expression that would normally violate our rules, such as ‘death to Russian invaders’ hate speech. We will not yet allow violent comments against Russian civilians.
We are issuing a permit in the spirit of the policy to allow level one violent speech that would otherwise be removed under the hate speech policy when: (a) targeting Russian soldiers EXCEPT POWs, or (b) targeting Russians where of course the context is the Russian invasion of Ukraine (eg the content mentions the invasion, self-defense, etc.).
We’re doing this because we’ve noticed that, in this specific context, the term ‘Russian soldiers’ is being used to refer to Russia’s armed forces. The hate speech policy continues to prohibit attacks on Russian civilians.”
Also according to the email, the new hate speech policy against the Russian government is only valid for users of certain European countries. On that list are Armenia, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia and Ukraine.
Russia asks Washington for support
Russia responded to changes to Instagram and Facebook rules. After the publication of the report by the Reutersa Russian embassy in the USA demanded that the US government stop Meta’s “extremist decisions”. On Twitter, the official profile of the Russian embassy commented:
“Facebook and Instagram users have not given the owners of these platforms the right to determine the criteria of truth and to pit nations against each other.”
Russian Embassy in the USA in tweet.
Facebook was banned in Russia last week
It is worth remembering that the Roskomnadzor — federal body responsible for regulating the internet in Russia — banned facebook the country on Friday of last week (4). At the time, Russia alleged that the social network had violated several laws by limiting users’ access to content produced by Russian state media.
In addition to FacebookO Google it’s the Twitter also blocked access to Russian state media within the European Union on their social networks.
Companies are even trying balance your activities in Russia so as not to completely deprive civilians of independently sharing information. But Vladimir Putin’s government has already shown that it can ban the country’s platforms as a counter-attack to Western sanctions.
With information: Reuters, Engadget, Politico.