The US company Meta is partially relaxing its rules for Facebook and Instagram users to allow calls for violence against the Russian government and its armed forces in Ukraine. The background is the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine.
“Due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, we are lenient on political expression that would normally violate our rules on violent speech,” Meta spokesman Andy Stone told AFP.
Stone tweeted “death to Russian invaders” as an example of an exception to statements that would normally have violated policy. However, he qualified: “We will not yet allow any credible calls for violence against Russian civilians.”
Following the announcement of the easing, the Russian embassy in the United States reacted with outrage. The Washington government must stop “extremist activities” by Facebook’s parent company, Meta, the embassy demanded in a statement on Facebook.
“Meta’s aggressive and criminal policies leading to hate speech and hostility towards Russians are outrageous,” he said. The company’s actions are further evidence of the “information war” being waged against Russia without rules.
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The head of the Russian parliament, Vyacheslav Volodin, said the move would have to be examined by the Russian prosecutor’s office, the TASS news agency reported.
The easing only applies to users in a few countries, including Ukraine, Russia, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Hungary, the New York Times wrote. The Reuters news agency reported similarly, citing internal emails from Facebook’s parent company to examiners of the reported content.
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The war in Ukraine is also being waged online. The West and Russia accuse each other of spreading misinformation. Supporters of the Russian invasion and opponents are exchanging hateful comments, including on Facebook.
Facebook blocked in Russia
The Kremlin blocked access to Facebook last week after the group blocked pro-government Russian outlets like RT and Sputnik in Europe due to EU sanctions. Other services of the target group, such as WhatsApp and Instagram, still work in Russia.
[Lesen Sie zudem: Desinformation, Empörung, Heldenfiguren – So bestimmen soziale Medien den Blick auf den Ukraine-Krieg (T+)]
Russian President Vladimir Putin is also cracking down on independent media. Journalists who publish alleged “false information” about the Russian military face lengthy prison terms. As a result, numerous outlets stopped reporting from Russia.
Due to Western sanctions against Putin, more and more international corporations are turning their backs on Russia. Big US tech companies like Apple and Microsoft no longer want to sell their products there, Netflix and Airbnb have also discontinued their services. (dpa, AFP, Reuters)