Tech

Facebook’s parent says it won't allow calls to assassinate state heads, such as Vladimir Putin

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Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) and Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin via REUTERS/Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images
  • Meta will not allow users posts to call for the death of "heads of state," Bloomberg reported.
  • Reuters reported Friday that the company could approve content calling for the death of Russian President Putin.
  • The post was from Nick Clegg, president of global affairs at at Meta Platforms.
  • For more stories, go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

In an internal post reviewed by Bloomberg, Facebook seemingly slimmed down a previously reported policy that would allow users in certain countries to call for the death of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Alexander Lukashenko, president of Belarus. 

"We also do not permit calls to assassinate a head of state," Nick Clegg, president of global affairs at Facebook parent company Meta Platforms, said in the post Sunday, likely referring in part to Russia's president, who invaded Ukraine in late February

A Meta spokesperson confirmed the details of the Bloomberg report to Insider.

On Friday, Reuters had reported that Facebook and Instagram would allow users in certain countries, when discussing the invasion, to post threats about Russian soldiers, its head of state, and, apparently, Russian people, though a Meta spokesperson clarified the latter policy in a statement. 

"In light of the ongoing invasion of Ukraine, we made a temporary exception for those affected by war, to express violent sentiments toward invading armed forces such as ''death to the Russian invaders'. These are temporary measures designed to preserve voice and expression for people who are facing invasion. As always, we are prohibiting calls for violence against Russians outside of the narrow context of the current invasion," the Meta spokesperson told Insider on Friday.

Reuters further reported Friday that Facebook and Instagram would permit users in Poland, Ukraine, Russia, and others to call for the death of Putin or Lukashenko, as long as they didn't have "two indicators of credibility, such as the location or method," the outlet wrote. Clegg appeared to change that rule in his internal post Sunday. 

In another seeming change, the revised content moderation policies, he said, only affect users in Ukraine and "only in the context of speech regarding the Russian military invasion of Ukraine," Bloomberg reported. 

Clegg discussed the policies more publicly in a Tweet Friday that defended the company's new decisions on content moderation, after officials in Russia asked a court to designate Meta as an extremist organisation. (Instagram was blocked in Russia on Monday.) 

"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's statement read. 

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