Big Tech Companies Temporarily Allow for Calls of Violence Against Russians Amidst Ukraine Invasion

Two of the largest tech companies in the world, Facebook and Instagram, are being widely criticized after announcing that they would temporarily allow users on their platforms to explicitly call for violence against Russians following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Fox News reports that, in emails exchanged between Reuters and the two tech platforms’ parent company Meta, users in certain European countries will be allowed to make violent remarks against Russians “in the context of the Ukraine invasion.” The emails state that such rhetoric will be allowed since Russians are now considered “a proxy for the Russian military.”

Furthermore, Reuters noted that the platforms are “also temporarily allowing some posts that call for death to Russian President Vladimir Putin or Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko in countries including Russia, Ukraine and Poland.” In one of the few caveats with the new temporary policy, Meta claims that violent posts will be allowed “unless they contain other targets” besides Putin and Lukashenko, or “have two indicators of credibility, such as the location or method.”

Other countries where users will be allowed to get away with such violent statements include Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, and Slovakia.

A spokesperson for Meta subsequently confirmed the policy change in a statement, declaring that “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 violence speech such as ‘death to the Russian invaders.’”

“We still won’t allow credible calls for violence against Russian civilians,” the spokesperson added.

But following widespread backlash on social media due to the sudden violation of its own long-standing policies against calls for violence on their platforms, Meta issued a follow-up statement emphasizing the temporary and targeted nature of the policy change.

“In light of the ongoing invasion of Ukraine, we made a temporary exception for those affected by war, to express violent sentiments toward invading armed forces such as ‘death to the Russian invaders,’” the statement read. “These are temporary measures designed to preserve voice and expression for people who are facing invasion. As always, we are prohibiting calls for violence against Russians outside of the narrow context of the current invasion.”

Facebook’s policy on “Violence and Incitement,” which has long been used as a cover to suppress conservative rhetoric and other political viewpoints, states that “we remove language that incites or facilitates serious violence. We remove content, disable accounts, and work with law enforcement when we believe there is a genuine risk of physical harm or direct threats to public safety.”

About Eric Lendrum

Eric Lendrum graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he was the Secretary of the College Republicans and the founding chairman of the school’s Young Americans for Freedom chapter. He has interned for Young America’s Foundation, the Heritage Foundation, and the White House, and has worked for numerous campaigns including the 2018 re-election of Congressman Devin Nunes (CA-22). He is currently a co-host of The Right Take podcast.

Photo: ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

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