Double standards on rights to speech;
A Facebook logo is displayed on a smartphone in this illustration taken January 6, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

Facebook owner Meta Platforms (FB.O) has defended its policy, allowing Facebook and Instagram users in some countries to call for violence against Russians as an exception in its hate speech policy.

Iran PressEurope: Facebook owner Meta Platforms (FB.O) said Friday that a temporary change in its content policy, only for Ukraine, was needed to let users voice opposition to Russia's attack, as Russia opened a criminal case after the company said it would allow posts such as "death to the Russian invaders."

According to the Reuters report, Russian prosecutors asked a court to designate the US tech giant as an "extremist organisation," and the communications regulator said it would restrict access to Meta's Instagram starting March 14. The company said the decision would affect 80 million users in Russia.

"A criminal case has been initiated ... in connection with illegal calls for murder and violence against citizens of the Russian Federation by employees of the American company Meta, which owns the social networks Facebook and Instagram," Russia's Investigative Committee said.

The committee reports directly to President Vladimir Putin. It was not immediately clear what the consequences of the criminal case might be.

Meta Global Affairs President Nick Clegg has justified its double standards with regards to rights to speech as an effort "to protect rights to speech as an expression of self-defense," saying that the policy only applied to Ukraine.

Two weeks into Russia's military operation in Ukraine, a Meta spokesperson said on Thursday the company had temporarily altered its rules for political speech, allowing posts such as "death to the Russian invaders."

Facebook's move came after the American social media giant “permanently” removed the page of Iran’s Arabic-language television news network al-Alam TV from its platform last week without giving any prior notice.

Its new attack against freedom of expression came as the al-Alam TV Facebook page, which was launched in 2010, had attracted some 6,000,000 followers over the past years.

Also, back in late January, Facebook permanently deleted the page of Iranian Spanish language news channel Hispan TV.


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Facebook blocks Al-Alam page

Facebook blocks HispanTV's account