vladimir putin

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Facebook now lets you call for Putin’s assassination, but only if you don’t say how you’re gonna do it and where he lives

The decision comes amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine.


Claire Goforth


Posted on Mar 11, 2022   Updated on Mar 21, 2022, 3:54 pm CDT

Facebook and Instagram are temporarily allowing calls for violence against Russians.

The decision, first reported by Reuters, allows people to call for violence against Russians. The platforms are also allowing calls for the deaths of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.

The change was made in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Belarus has allowed Russia to stage the invasion from within its borders and provided it with other support.

Facebook’s and Instagram’s parent company Meta says that the new policy doesn’t allow for calls for violence against civilians.

“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 violent speech such as ‘death to the Russian invaders.’ We still won’t allow credible calls for violence against Russian civilians,” a Meta spokesperson told Reuters.

The outlet obtained internal emails about the new policy that were sent to content moderators. One said calls for the deaths of Putin or Lukashenko are permitted unless they name other targets or have at least two indications of credibility, such as location or means.

In recent weeks, Facebook has sought to diminish the Russian government’s reach on the platform. In retaliation, Russia said it has banned Facebook within its borders.

The Russian Embassy to the United States blasted the move and called on the U.S. government to intervene.

“We demand that [U.S.] authorities stop the extremist activities of @Meta, take measures to bring the perpetrators to justice,” the embassy tweeted Thursday night.

“Users of #Facebook & #Instagram did not give the owners of these platforms the right to determine the criteria of truth and pit nations against each other.”

People are divided over the policy change. Some agree with Russia’s assessment that Facebook, an American company with a global footprint, is unnecessarily picking sides and interfering in affairs of state.

“They’re explicitly allowing ‘calls for death’—pure coincidence that it happens to align with U.S. geopolitical objectives,” tweeted Michael Tracey.

On the other side of the issue, some believe that Russia’s actions justify the new rule allowing calls for violence against heads of state and armed forces invading Ukraine. They view calls for violence against Russian soldiers and leadership as justifiable in light of its attack on Ukraine. Russia has also been accused of targeting civilians and spreading disinformation to justify its actions.

“I don’t know what the Russian word for irony is, but it doesn’t matter because it’s lost anyway,” opined one person.

Facebook is also temporarily allowing praise for the Azov Battalion, an extremist Ukrainian group that’s on its blacklist of banned dangerous individuals and organizations.

The changes apply in select countries, including Russia, Ukraine, Poland, and other primarily Eastern European nations.

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*First Published: Mar 11, 2022, 1:08 pm CST