Social media giants, Facebook and Instagram, in the past few days, have seemingly issued a temporary change to their hate speech policy.
The policy usually restricts users from inciting acts of violence or hate against individuals. On this occasion in internal emails seen by news organisation, Reuters, it suggests that moderators have been issued with a spirit-of-the-policy allowance. This now allows, for some countries, violent speech or hate speech, as more commonly known, that would normally be removed, against the following:
- Russian Soldiers (except POW’S)
- Russians with a pro-active stance on the invasion of the Ukraine
- Death threats on the Russian president, Vladimir Putin
- Death threats on the Belarusian President, Lukashenko
Whilst the new rules allow for the threat of the leader’s death, it will not allow specifics that contain other targets, a location or methods. Meta, the new parent company name for the Facebook and Instagram group of businesses, has also made it clear in their statement that it will not allow calls for violence against Russian citizens.
What is Russia’s response to this?
The Russian Embassy is quoted, via Twitter, as having demanded that the US authorities stop the “extremist activities” of Meta. The Russian Embassy tweet also said that users of Facebook and Instagram did not give the owners of these platforms the right to determine the criteria of truth and pit nations against each other.
Russia have begun blocking access to several of Meta’s platforms to its citizens, including Instagram and Facebook. The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office were quoted as requesting the restriction of access to Instagram over the “distribution of information materials containing calls to carry out violent actions against Russians, including servicemen”
☝️We demand that 🇺🇸 authorities stop the extremist activities of @Meta, take measures to bring the perpetrators to justice. 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. https://t.co/1RkrjRmEtA pic.twitter.com/sTacSm4nDt— Russian Embassy in USA 🇷🇺 (@RusEmbUSA) March 11, 2022