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Russia Demands That US Stop 'Extremist Activities' by Meta as Company Okays Calls for Violence

© REUTERS / DADO RUVICFILE PHOTO: Meta logo is placed on a Russian flag in this illustration taken February 26, 2022.
FILE PHOTO: Meta logo is placed on a Russian flag in this illustration taken February 26, 2022.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 11.03.2022
The media giant is reportedly going to allow death threat-related posts against Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko in a number of countries, including Russia, Ukraine, and Poland.
The Russian Embassy in the US has condemned a move by Meta to allow Facebook and Instagram in some countries to call for violence against Russian soldiers amid Moscow's ongoing special military operation in Ukraine.

The embassy said in a statement that "Meta's aggressive and criminal policy leading to incitement of hatred and hostility towards Russians is outrageous".

The Russian diplomats described the company's actions as yet more "evidence of the information war without rules declared on our country", adding that "media corporations have become soldiers of the propaganda machine of the Western establishment".

"We demand that the US authorities stop the extremist activities of Meta and take measures to bring the perpetrators to justice. Users of Facebook and Instagram did not give the owners of these internet platforms the right to determine the criteria of truth and pit nations against each other", the diplomats emphasised.

This comes after Meta spokesperson Andy Stone stated that as a result of what he dubbed "the Russian invasion of Ukraine", Meta has "temporarily made allowances for forms of political expression that would normally violate" its rules "like violent speech such as 'death to the Russian invaders'".
Stone added that the company "won't allow credible calls for violence against Russian civilians".
Reuters has since cited internal company emails as saying that aside from greenlighting hate speech in a number of countries, Meta will also allow posts "that call for death to Russian President Vladimir Putin or Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko".
Calls for violence against Russian soldiers will be considered permissible by the company, but not against prisoners of war, the Reuters report claimed, adding that Meta will also allow praise of Ukraine's neo-Nazi Azov Battalion, something that is normally prohibited. In 2016, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) officially accused Azov Battalion members of war crimes, including kidnapping, torture, and mass looting.
Meta's temporary change to its hate speech policy reportedly applies to Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Russia, and Ukraine, as well as Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Russia's Special Op in Ukraine

On 24 February, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a special military operation in Ukraine in response to calls from the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics for protection against intensifying attacks by Ukrainian troops. The Russian Defence Ministry said the special operation, which aims to demilitarise and de­-Nazify Ukraine, is only targeting the country's military infrastructure and the civilian population is not in danger. Moscow has repeatedly stressed that it has no plans to occupy Ukraine.
In response, the US and its allies rolled out packages of sanctions against Moscow, prompting many international businesses to leave the Russian market. President Putin underscored that the sanctions can be likened to a declaration of war on Russia.
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