Facebook and Instagram policies regarding war-related content keep constantly changing, causing internal confusion. Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Meta has made more than half a dozen content policy revisions.
They have permitted sharing the type of content that would normally be blocked, even calling for the death of President Putin and violence against Russian soldiers. They, however, changed their mind later and drew up new guidelines.
This change has yet again resulted in internal confusion among the content moderators for Facebook and Instagram violence and hate speech content. The New York Times reports that Meta has sometimes shifted its rules on a daily basis.
Despite the company’s strong position on restricting any kind of posts and content that might incite violence, on February 26th it has informed its content moderators that it would allow calls for the death of Mr Putin and “calls for violence against Russians and Russian soldiers in the context of the Ukraine invasion”.
On March 10th, Reuters has also reported that these kinds of posts will be tolerated as a temporary change in Facebook’s and Instagram’s change of hate speech policies. Shortly thereafter, on March 14th, it was reported by Bloomberg, that Meta had reversed its course and users were no longer allowed to post calls for “the death of the head of state”.
In his Twitter post, Nick Clegg, Meta’s president for global affairs, announced that Meta will be restricting access to Russia Today and Sputnik across Europe on its platforms. Russia’s response was to block Facebook and Instagram inside the country, claiming the company discriminated against Russian media.
We have received requests from a number of Governments and the EU to take further steps in relation to Russian state controlled media. Given the exceptional nature of the current situation, we will be restricting access to RT and Sputnik across the EU at this time.
— Nick Clegg (@nickclegg) February 28, 2022
Meta also acted swiftly by removing an edited “deepfake” video from its platforms of President Zelensky yielding to Russia.
Their efforts did not go unnoticed as Mr Zelensky expressed his gratitude to the company in his tweet for “having an active position that helps and stands side by side with the Ukrainians”.
War is not only a military opposition on UA land. It is also a fierce battle in the informational space. I want to thank @Meta and other platforms that have an active position that help and stand side by side with the Ukrainians.
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) March 13, 2022