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FACEBOOK and Instagram have come under fire after a report from the Reuters news agency revealed internal emails sanctioning calls for the deaths of Russians.
Meta, which owns the social media platforms, is also temporarily allowing some posts calling for the death of President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko in some countries, including Russia, Ukraine and Poland.
Posts calling for their demise will be allowed unless they contain other targets or include the location and method of the killings, internal emails said.
In a statement, Meta justified its temporary change in hate speech policy saying it was in context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“As a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, 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 citizens,” a spokesperson for Meta said.
The Russian embassy in the United States called for an end to “the extremist activities” of Meta.
“Users of Facebook and Instagram did not give the owners of these platforms the right to determine the criteria of truth and pit nations against each other,” it said in a statement.
Praise of the neonazi Azov Battalion is also allowed by Meta, despite it being responsible for war crimes in the Donbass region.
Social media platforms and sites including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have been removing content deemed pro-Russian in a sweeping crackdown.
News organisations including RT have been blocked across Europe in an EU decree which orders search engines to de-list their content and social media platforms to delete posts which reproduce any of their content.
There appears to be a revolving door between social media and online content providers and Nato.
Global director of content policy at Facebook Mark Smith was formerly employed by the military alliance as an adviser to the deputy commander.
Ben Renda, the director of trust and safety at Google — which also owns video content platform YouTube — was also Nato’s former strategic planner and information officer.
He is a senior fellow at arms manufacturer Lockheed Martin and a fellow at the Centre for a New American Security which is sponsored by Raytheon.
In 2015 the British Army set up the 77th Brigade to carry out psychological warfare using both Facebook and Twitter to “fight in the information age.”
An officer based with the unit told Wired in 2017 that its messaging “doesn’t have to look like it came from the military and doesn’t have to necessarily tell the truth.”
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