News and Analysis

Facebook And Instagram Will Allow Calls For Violence — As Long As They’re Against Russians
Facebook logo displayed on a phone screen and a 'metaverse' sign displayed on a laptop screen are seen in this illustration photo taken in Krakow, Poland on February 21, 2022. (Photo by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Facebook and Instagram have relaxed their community standards in one very specific arena — in some countries, the platforms will allow posts that call for violence against Russia, Russian soldiers, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.

Reuters reported Thursday that the Meta platforms would relax their hate speech restrictions in some instances while Russia continued to invade Ukraine.


“Meta Platforms (FB.O) will allow Facebook and Instagram users in some countries to call for violence against Russians and Russian soldiers in the context of the Ukraine invasion, according to internal emails seen by Reuters on Thursday, in a temporary change to its hate speech policy,” Reuters reported.

Facebook’s hate speech policy reads, in part:

While we understand that people commonly express disdain or disagreement by threatening or calling for violence in non-serious ways, 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. We also try to consider the language and context in order to distinguish casual statements from content that constitutes a credible threat to public or personal safety.

According to the report, the temporary changes applied to the nearby former Soviet bloc nations of Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Russia and Ukraine.

The posts will only be allowed if they are clearly talking about the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, and posts calling for the death of Putin or Lukashenko will only be allowed if they do not include any other targets and do not include “two indicators of credibility, such as the location or method.”

A spokesperson for Meta reportedly told Fox News Digital, “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.”

Critics were quick to question the situational ethics on display.

“Change ‘Russians’ to ‘Republicans’ and you have a headline you’re likely to read during the 2024 presidential election campaign,” The Federalist’s Sean Davis remarked.

“WTF is wrong with us? Seriously. This is bulls**t. And trust me, I know hate. This will only lead to to the dark side,” Maajid Nawaz tweeted.

Chef Andrew Gruel added, “The pimples that made this decision have never seen violence in their lives.”

Tim Young joined a number of others in arguing that if the platforms were going to make special carveouts for the kinds of hate speech they approved, there was no longer any real justification for them to continue to ban former President Donald Trump. “There’s no longer any excuse as to why Trump is banned from social media,” he said.

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