After Reuther reported that Meta allowed the publication on its platforms of materials calling for violence against Russian soldiers, as well as some other materials, the Russian authorities sent the company a request to confirm or deny this information.
Today, Meta spokesman Andy Stone took to Twitter to say that the company has indeed temporarily lifted the ban on incitement to violence on its platforms in relation to the Russian military, calling it a form of political expression. At the same time, it is forbidden to call for violence against civilian Russians.
Our statement on what’s happening: pic.twitter.com/UQqb3vQeep
— Andy Stone (@andymstone) March 10, 2022
“As a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, we are making allowances for forms of political expression that would normally violate our rules, including calls for violence such as ‘death to the Russian occupiers.’ We continue to prevent calls for violence against Russian civilians,” Stone said in a statement.
The Russian Embassy in the United States called the company’s actions “extremist activities” and demanded that the US authorities bring Meta to justice.
The Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation responded as follows:Such actions of the company’s management not only form the idea of the permissibility of terrorist activities, but are also aimed at inciting hatred and enmity towards the citizens of the Russian Federation“.
The Prosecutor General’s Office, in accordance with the Federal Law “On Counteracting Extremist Activities”, filed an application with the court to recognize Meta Platforms as an extremist organization and ban its activities on the territory of the Russian Federation.
This means that if Meta is indeed recognized extremistthen some of its products, in particular Facebook, will be banned in Russia.
In addition, the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation opened a criminal case “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“. It is noted that the statement of the press secretary of Meta contains signs of crimes under Articles 280, 205.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation – public calls for extremist activities, assistance to terrorist activities. As part of the case, these actions will be given a legal assessment.
At the same time, according to Senator Klishas, users of Facebook, Instagram and other Meta products will not be considered extremists if the company is recognized as extremist, even if they use means to bypass blocking, log into their accounts and continue to use Facebook and Instagram social networks.
As for WhatsApp, access to this messenger will not be restricted, since this service is not included in the register of information distributors.
Nothing will change for the holders of Meta shares in their brokerage accounts, informed State Duma deputy Alexander Khinshtein (unless, of course, they are taken away by decision of the US authorities).