October 6, 2022

Robotic Notes

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Meta says it’s no longer fair game to call for Putin’s assassination on Facebook or Instagram

2 min read

After Meta Platforms Inc. surprised a few people last week by saying it would allow calls for violence against Russian leader Vladimir Putin, the company today said it has reversed this decision.

Last week, Meta announced that it was issuing a “spirit-of-the-policy” notice that would mean people in certain countries would be allowed to call for the death of Putin and also Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. The company also said it would make it acceptable to use hate speech as long as it was directed against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Russian prosecutors didn’t like that, later launching a criminal case against Meta and calling it an “extremist organization.” It seems now that Meta has had a rethink, or at least has clarified some matters.

“We are now narrowing the focus to make it explicitly clear in the guidance that it is never to be interpreted as condoning violence against Russians in general,” Meta Global Affairs President Nick Clegg wrote in a post. “We also do not allow calls to assassinate a head of state… So, in order to remove any ambiguity about our stance, we are further narrowing our guidance to make explicit that we are not allowing calls for the death of a head of state on our platforms. ”

Meta did actually state quite clearly last week that hate speech should not be directed at Russian citizens and only at Russian soldiers or in relation to the invasion itself. The company said “Russophobia” would not be tolerated, nor would allow calls for “genocide, ethnic cleansing, or any kind of discrimination, harassment.” Nonetheless, the move did result in a backlash from some parts of the media and public, decrying Meta for weaponizing itself – something it has vowed not to become in the past.

“These are difficult decisions,” Clegg said. “Circumstances in Ukraine are fast-moving. We try to think through all the consequences, and we keep our guidance under constant review because the context is always evolving. ”

Earlier in March, Russia banned the use of Facebook in the country, and soon after, it announced that it would also block the Instagram app. It seems today the country made good on that promise, leaving in the region of 80 million Instagrammers without the app and some without an income.

Photo: Dima Solomin / Unsplash

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