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Meta to temporarily allow hate speech against Russia

Facebook rebrands to Meta; Aims to become a 'social tech' company

Meta platforms Facebook and Instagram will be temporarily changing their hate speech policy, allowing users in some countries to call for violence against Russian soldiers and politicians, according to internal emails seen by Reuters on Thursday. 

The countries allowed to make such posts include Armenia, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, and Ukraine.

The platforms will also temporarily allow posts calling for the deaths of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko as per the emails to its content moderators. However, these calls to death will only be allowed based on unless they have other targets or two indicators of credibility, including location and method. 

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Social media war

The Russian embassy in the United States has demanded that Meta’s “extremist” activities be stopped, citing the Reuters story. The message was retweeted by the Russian embassy in India as well.

The platforms allow for the praise of the right-wing Azov battalion, another exception to an action that is usually prohibited, first reported by The Intercept.

This isn’t the first time Meta has made exceptions to its community standards involving hate speech, violence, and incitement. In 2021, Facebook moderators received similar temporary instructions about content related to Iran’s Khamanei, making the exception in content calling for the Iranian leader’s death.

Russia already banned Facebook last week in response to the platform restricting access to the country’s state-sponsored news outlets. A majority of social media platforms, including Snapchat and Twitter, have also announced content restrictions, especially around RT and Sputnik, Russia’s state media in the European Union.

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