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Earlier in the day, Meta announced a concerning change in its company policy, greenlighting calls for violence against Russian soldiers on its platforms in some countries amid Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine.
It is “necessary” to ban Meta’s social media platforms Facebook and Instagram if they indeed allowed calls for violence against Russians, the Kremlin said Friday.
“This is information that really requires very, very careful confirmation and study. I don’t want to take Reuters’ word for it, because it’s very difficult to imagine. Our relevant departments will find out if this is really the case. And let’s hope it’s not. Because if so, the most decisive measures will follow to suppress the activities of this company”, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner said that Meta’s decision to allow incitement to violence against Russians raises concerns and will be looked into.
Additionally, the Russian media watchdog Roskomnadzor demanded that Meta immeditately confirm or deny the change in the Facebook and Instagram rules concerning Russian citizens, including military personnel of the armed forces.
Meta’s Policy Changes
The comments come after the California-based big tech company announced on Friday that it 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'”.
The statement by a Meta spokesperson followed a report by Reuters citing internal emails, in which it was said that the company also allowed posts “that call for death to Russian President Vladimir Putin or Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko”.
The new rule reportedly applies to Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Ukraine.
The controversial changes in Meta’s policy caused condemnation from the Russian Embassy in the United States. While the company clarified that it won’t allow “credible calls” for violence against Russian civilians, the embassy saw the move as an act of “aggressive and criminal policy leading to incitement of hatred and hostility towards Russians is outrageous”.
The West’s condemnation of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine has already prompted a wave of what many have already deemed to be displays of massive Russophobia, in both online and offline bullying.
“Indeed, in a number of Western countries, there is an increasing attitude of hatred towards Russians and Russian citizens. This is very dangerous, and our fellow citizens must be on the alert and exercise appropriate caution. Of course, we expect the authorities of all countries not to further fertilise this hatred and Russophobia via their statements”, Peskov said, commenting on the matter.