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Russia Sues Meta

Russia Sues Meta

Russia sues Meta, Facebook’s parent company, for temporary hate speech policy change. Russia’s Investigative Committee accused the employees of “illegal calls for murder and violence” against Russian citizens.

The lawsuit stems from a temporary adjustment to Meta’s hate speech policy, which permits certain Facebook and Instagram users to express violent emotions against Russian-backed military forces invading Ukraine. The policy change was originally reported by Reuters on Thursday.

“A criminal case has been initiated in the Main Investigation Department of the Russian Investigative Committee 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,” the Investigative Committee’s statement said, citing the policy change.

“These actions contain signs of crimes under Articles 280 and 205.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation – public calls for extremist activities; assistance to terrorist activities,” the statement reads.

In response, Meta (FB) did not immediately answer. However, the business underlined in a statement on Thursday that the policy modification does not allow for incitement for violence against Russians outside of the context of the invasion of Ukraine.

“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,” Meta said in a statement to CNN Thursday. “As always, we are prohibiting calls for violence against Russians outside of the narrow context of the current invasion.”

Roskonadzor, Russia’s information watchdog, said Friday it will restrict access to Instagram, saying the “social network distributes informational materials containing calls to commit violent acts against citizens of the Russian Federation, including military personnel.”

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