Facebook eases censorship on post against Russia. Harsh response from Moscow

The change in the rules for managing posts on Facebook and Instagram is discussed. Meta has in fact decided to loosen the mesh of censorship in relation to a specific type of hateful messagethose revolts against Putin, Lukashenko and the Russian military. Although the measure applies only to certain countries, the news aroused the foreseeable reaction of the Moscow government, but also a position taken by the UN that it has said worried. In fact, it is a green light for hate speech in a context, that of the Russian-Ukrainian war, in which the invitation to tone down (as well as weapons) and to take the path of negotiation is addressed from many sides. .

The news of the change of rules has been anticipated in the past few hours by Reuters who had the opportunity to view Meta internal documents relating to post management. More specifically, Facebook would temporarily allow not to censor messages calling for the death of Russian President Putin or Belarusian Lukashenko; censorship will not even apply to messages fromsimilar content aimed at members of the Russian army. On the other hand, censorship remains unchanged if the hateful message is addressed to Russian civilians. Facebook’s new policy only applies in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia and Ukraine.

Andy Stone, Meta’s communications chief, confirmed the news explaining:

As a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine we have temporarily allowed forms of political expression that would normally violate our rules, such as violent speeches with “death to the Russian invaders”. We will not allow credible calls for violence against Russian civilians

The response of the Moscow government was not long in coming: the Tass news agency let it be known that the Investigative Committee has initiated a criminal trial against Meta for inciting violence and murder against Russian citizens. Andy Stone’s statements are in the sights. The committee points out:

these statements contain indications of offenses under Articles 280, 205.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“public invitations to carry out extremist activities”; “promotion of terrorist activities”). As part of the criminal case, the necessary investigative measures were taken to give a legal assessment of the actions of Andy Stone and other employees of the American company.

The Russian Attorney General’s Office also asked to recognize Meta as an extremist organization and to ban its operations in Russia. As an additional contrast measure the Roskomnadzor has decided to limit access to Instagram throughout the territory of the Russian federation (please note that access to Facebook has already been limited).

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