Meta, the parent company of social networks Facebook and Instagram, plans to allow the publication of calls for violence against Russians in response to the invasion of Ukraine, media reports said on Friday.
“As a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, we have temporarily allowed forms of political expression that would normally break our rules, such as violent speeches like ‘death to the Russian invaders’. We will still not allow credible calls for violence against Russian civilians,” Meta spokesman Andy Stone said in a statement.
Sputnik news agency reported that the US media giant will allow posts calling for the deaths of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko in a number of countries including Russia, Ukraine and Poland.
This decision comes days after Russia blocked access to Facebook and other social media platforms over claims it had discriminated against Russian media and information resources.
According to media reports, the Russian websites of the BBC and Deutsche Welle, Twitter and the Apple and Google app stores have been blocked.
“In March 2022, a decision was made to block access to the Facebook network (owned by Meta Platforms, Inc.) in the Russian Federation,” the Russian media regulator said in a statement.
Meta President Nick Clegg said the company is doing “everything we can to restore our services.”
Russia launched a “military operation” in Ukraine on February 24, ostensibly in response to demands from the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Luhansk for protection from attacks by Ukrainian troops.
The Russian Defense Ministry said the special operation is only targeting Ukraine’s military infrastructure and civilians are not in danger.
A number of countries, including the US, Canada and Australia, have launched a full-scale sanctions campaign against Russia, prompting many international companies to exit the Russian market.