War in Ukraine: Russia calls Meta an ‘extremist organization’ for allowing posts calling for Putin’s death | Science and technology news
Russia is on the verge of labeling social media giant Meta an “extremist organization” after the company announced it would temporarily allow people to post calls for Vladimir Putin’s death.
The country’s Attorney General has also asked communications regulator Roskomnadzor to restrict access to Instagram blocked against Facebook and Twitter last week.
It is the latest crackdown on access to foreign media in Russia related to the invasion of Ukrainewhich the Russian government calls a special military operation.
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Why are the Russian authorities taking action against Meta?
According to the public prosecutor’s office, Instagram is calling for Russians to take part in “riots accompanied by violence” against their government’s actions in Ukraine.
Meta reportedly has Emails sent to moderators who state that the company “allows forms of political expression that would normally be against our rules.”
Calling for violence against Russian civilians will continue to be banned – and posts calling for the president’s death will be deleted if they contain other goals or discuss a location or method.
Post-invasion rules around posts about Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko were also relaxed.
According to Reuters news agency, the temporary policy only applies to users in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia and Ukraine.
Why did Meta change its policy?
An email seen by Reuters told moderators: “We are granting permission, in the spirit of the policy, to allow violent T1 speech that would otherwise be removed under the Hate Speech Policy if: (a) Russian soldiers enter targeted, EXCEPT POWs, or (b) targeting Russians when it is clear that the context is the Russian invasion of Ukraine (e.g. content mentions the invasion, self-defense, etc.)”
The message went on to explain that the rules will be changed because “Russian soldiers” will be used as proxies for the military in relation to this invasion.
• Putin’s Armed Forces Edge closer to Kyiv – as the mayor says, men and women who fled the capital and are returning to the fight
• Great Britain sanctions 386 Russian politicians who supported Putin’s invasion
• Boris Johnson informed Sky News It was “deeply disturbing” to reject calls for a no-fly zone over Ukraine
• The UN Security Council meets today to discuss Russia’s claims that the US and Ukraine are developing biological weapons – despite strong denials from both countries
• Britons are said to be asked to welcome Ukrainian refugees into their homes
Meta said: “With the ongoing invasion of Ukraine, we have made a temporary exception for those affected by the war to express their feelings towards the invading forces like ‘Death to the Russian invaders.’
“These are temporary measures aimed at preserving the voice and expression of people facing an invasion. As always, we prohibit calls for violence against Russians outside of the narrow context of the current invasion.”
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Russia tightens access to social networks
Last week, Russia said it bans Facebook after the social network began restricting access to certain state media.
Social networks like Facebook and Twitter blocked RT and Sputnik in Europe.
On Thursday, both sides removed posts from the Russian embassy in Britain about the bombing of a children’s hospital in Mariupol for violating rules prohibiting denial of violent events.
According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, three people, including a child, were killed in the airstrike on Wednesday, which also hit a maternity ward.
One of the Russian embassy’s posts shared pictures with a red label labeling them as “fake” – and went on to claim that the maternity ward was not operational and was being used by Ukrainian soldiers at the time.
Twitter has responded to Russia’s blockades by launching a privacy-protected version of its website – known as the “onion service” – that can be accessed via the dark web.