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Facebook, Instagram to permit calls for violence against Russians

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EDITOR'S CHOICE

US company Meta will permit its Facebook and Instagram social networks not to block users’ calls for violence against Russian citizens and soldiers in particular, Reuters reported citing internal emails.

The changes in the company’s policy was due to Russia’s military operation in Ukraine.

According to Meta letters, calls for violence against Russians are permitted when the message clearly mentions the military operation in Ukraine. The changes in the company’s policy are applicable for users from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Hungary, Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, Romania, Slovakia, Ukraine and Estonia.

The company will also not delete calls for death of the presidents of Russia and Belarus, Vladimir Putin and Alexander Lukashenko, made in Poland, Russia and Ukraine.

Company spokesperson Andy Stone confirmed the information in a Twitter post, adding that although calls for violence against the Russian military are permitted, such calls against civilians will remain prohibited.

“We have temporarily made allowances for forms of political expression that would normally violate our rules like violent speech such as ‘death to the Russian invaders.’ We still won’t allow credible calls for violence against Russian civilians,” he said.

The spokesperson did not specify how such content will be monitored or moderated.

On February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a special military operation in response to a request for help by the heads of the Donbass republics. He stressed that Moscow had no plans of occupying Ukrainian territories, but aims to demilitarize and denazify the country. The Russian Defense Ministry said that Russian troops are not targeting Ukrainian cities, but are incapacitating Ukrainian military infrastructure, therefore there are no threats to the civilian population. Subsequently, the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union and some other countries announced sanctions against Russian companies and individuals.

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