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Facebook and Instagram allow hate speech posts toward Russian soldiers and Putin

Meta allowed users in some countries to call for violence against Russian soldiers, users, and Vladimir Putin, Reuters reports. Also, this policy change was confirmed by the press service of Meta on AIN.Capital request.

Context

  • The fact is that war posts about the Russian invaders are now the key reason why Ukrainian accounts can be banned. And, as AIN.Capital knows, some banned posts did not even violate Facebook policy — it could simply contain criticism of the Russian regime or a report on the disastrous consequences of Russia’s military aggression.
  • So, activists that help to unban Ukrainian accounts often urge users to be more careful when writing public posts because Facebook is strictly against hate speech and violence. Until now, content analysts of the social media company did not consider the context of such posts.

What has changed?

Facebook and Instagram have temporarily changed their hate speech policy, allowing aggressive expressions like ‘death to the Russian invaders.’ But the company still does not allow aggression toward Russian civilians (apparently, from Facebook’s point of view, only the Russian army can express aggression toward civilians). It is also allowed to call for the death of Russia’s leaders if the post does not contain other targets or specific means (location or method).

What specifically is allowed:

  • hate speech targeting Russian soldiers (except war prisoners)
  • hate speech targeting Russians where it is clear that the context is Russia’s war in Ukraine (e.g., content mentions the invasion, self-defense, etc.)
  • call for death to Putin

The press service of Meta confirmed the change of rules to the editor of AIN.Capital:

“In light of the ongoing invasion of Ukraine, we made a temporary exception for those affected by war, to express sentiments toward invading armed forces such as ‘death to the Russian invaders.’ These are temporary measures designed to preserve voice and expression for people who are facing invasion. As always, we are prohibiting calls for violence against Russians outside of the narrow context of the current invasion”

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