As you may recall, Facebook recently announced that it would allow some posts calling for the deaths of Russian President Vladimir Putin or Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko in countries like Russia, Ukraine and Poland.
In a temporary change to its policy on hate speech, Meta Platforms said it will now allow Facebook and Instagram users in some countries to incite violence against Russians and Russian soldiers in connection with the invasion of Ukraine, according to a Reuters report at Citing an internal email seen by the news outlet on Thursday. Now the social giant is threatened with condemnation by the United Nations (UN).
On Friday, the UN condemned Meta for allowing hate speech and calls for violence against certain Russians. In a statement, Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said the international organization does not condone such calls from any side.
“We take a clear stand against all hate speech, all calls for violence. This type of language is simply unacceptable, no matter what direction it comes from,” Dujarric said during a press conference on Friday.
However, Meta tried to downplay the impact of his controversial move, with the social media giant’s President for Global Affairs and former UK Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg releasing a statement on Twitter to clarify the decision. The platform’s main goal is to allow Ukrainians to vent their anger at the Russian offensive, he claimed, describing the decision as a “temporary” measure.
“Let me be clear: our policy is focused on protecting people’s right to freedom of expression as an expression of self-defense in response to a military invasion of their country. In fact, if we applied our default content policies without adjustments, we would now remove content from ordinary Ukrainians expressing their opposition and anger at the invading forces, which would rightly be considered unacceptable.” said Klegg.
In response to reports that the Russian government is considering labeling Meta an extremist organization for its speech support policy: pic.twitter.com/Y8sUbZDSML
— Nick Clegg (@nickclegg) March 11, 2022
The policy is only applied “in Ukraine itself”, He went on. It was not immediately clear whether residents of other countries would be allowed to express their opinions “Fury” and inciting violence against Russian troops and also against President Vladimir Putin, or whether the hateful content would be available for viewing outside of Ukraine.
As far as the Russian population is concerned, our policy on hate speech will not change at all. We do not tolerate Russophobia or any kind of discrimination, harassment or violence against Russians on our platform.
This isn’t the first time Meta has taken sides, and in some cases sided with white supremacist organizations. For example, last month Facebook revised its policies against dangerous individuals and entities, allowing posts praising the Azov Battalion, the unit of Ukraine’s National Guard, which includes hard-line nationalists and openly neo-Nazi fighters.
Meanwhile, Reuters reported that Meta’s temporary policy changes on incitements to violence against Russian soldiers only apply to Armenia, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia and Ukraine.