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War in Ukraine: Facebook to allow calls for violence against Putin

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Image source, REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Files

The owner of Facebook and Instagram will allow users in some countries to call for violence against Vladimir Putin and Russian soldiers.

Meta says it has temporarily made allowances for some violent speech, like “death to the Russian invaders,” that would usually break its rules.

However, it says it won’t permit calls for violence against Russian civilians.

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The announcement came after Reuters news agency said it had seen internal emails outlining the policy shift.

“In light of the ongoing invasion of Ukraine, we made a temporary exception for those affected by the war, to express violent sentiments toward invading armed forces,” a Meta spokesperson told the BBC.

Under the amended policy, users in countries including Russia, Ukraine and Poland will also be able to call for the deaths of Russia’s President Putin and Belarusian President Lukashenko.

The emails reportedly said calls for the leaders’ deaths will be allowed unless they contain other targets, or included a location or methods.

Calls for violence against Russians is also allowed when the post is clearly references the invasion of Ukraine, the emails reportedly said.

Russia announced last week that it was blocking Facebook and its platforms, citing 26 cases of “discrimination” against Russian media by Facebook since October 2020.

While access to the site had already been restricted in Russia, it was not completely unavailable.

Moscow has cracked down on several social media platforms as it pursues what it calls a “special operation” in Ukraine.

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