Because of the Ukraine war, Meta now says you can't threaten to assassinate Russia's President Putin on Facebook

Meta Platforms, the parent company of social media giants Facebook and Instagram, reaffirmed Monday that users cannot post messages asking for the killing of Russian President Vladimir Putin or other leaders of state.

Meta also stated that a previously reported temporary relaxation of its hate speech policy applies exclusively to posts made by users in Ukraine threatening the attacking forces and "only in the context of discussion regarding the Russian military invasion of Ukraine."

The clarification comes just days after Reuters reported that Meta had amended its hate speech policy in Russia, Ukraine, and Poland to allow for such murder threats against Putin and his friend, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, as a result of the invasion, which is now in its third week.

According to Reuters, Facebook is also permitting calls for violence against Russian military in these three nations, as well as numerous others in Eastern Europe, the Baltics, and western Asia.

The clarification comes after Russia started a criminal investigation into Meta on Friday as a result of a modification in its hate speech policy, as well as the government restricting users' access to Instagram. Following the invasion, Russia blocked Facebook after the network imposed restrictions on government-affiliated media outlets.

Meta President of Global Affairs Nick Clegg wrote in an internal post on Sunday that the firm is "now limiting its focus to make expressly clear in the guidance that it is never to be regarded as supporting violence against Russians in general."

"We also do not permit calls to assassinate a head of state," Clegg said in the piece, which Bloomberg first reported on Sunday.

Clegg's post on CNBC was confirmed by Meta.

On Friday, Clegg tweeted on the rationale for Meta's hate speech policy relaxation.

"I want to be clear: Our policies are centered on defending people's rights to free expression as an expression of self-defense in the face of a military invasion of their country," he wrote.

“The fact is, if we applied our standard content policies without any adjustments we would now be removing content from ordinary Ukrainians expressing their resistance and fury at the invading military forces, which would rightly be viewed as unacceptable. 

Clegg added: “To be clear, we are only going to apply this policy in Ukraine itself. We have no quarrel with the Russian people. There is no change at all in our policies on hate speech as far as the Russian people are concerned. We will not tolerate Russophobia or any kind of discrimination, harassment or violence towards Russians on our platform.”

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