Facebook will ‘temporarily’ allow Ukrainians to call for the death of Putin and Russian soldiers

The company still bars "credible calls for violence" targeting civilians.

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Facebook is changing a rule that prohibits users from calling for violence in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The change, which was first reported by Reuters, allows people in Ukraine and a handful of other countries “to call for violence against Russians and Russian soldiers in the context of the Ukraine invasion.” People in Ukraine, Poland and Russia are also permitted to “call for death to Russian President Vladimir Putin or Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.”

Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone said in a statement that the company was "temporarily” allowing some posts that in the past would have been taken down under the company’s rules prohibiting inciting violence. He added that the company won’t allow “credible calls for violence against Russian civilians.” The company will also take down specific credible threats against Putin and Lukashenko, according to a memo reported by Reuters.

“As a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine we have temporarily made allowances for forms of political expression that would normally violate our rules like violent speech such as ‘death to the Russian invaders,’” Stone said. “We still won’t allow credible calls for violence against Russian civilians.”

Russia has responded to the rule changing, saying that Washington must stop the "extremist activities" of Meta, Reuters has reported.

The change underscores just how much social media platforms are rushing to adapt their content policies amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Facebook has already taken several steps to limit the influence of Russian state media outlets and took down a network of fake accounts boosting pro-Russia propaganda. The Russian government has responded by banning Facebook.

Update 3/10/2022 2:20 AM ET: The article has been updated with Russia's response to Meta's new rule, reported by Reuters.