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Russia slams Meta as ‘extremist’ after Facebook lifts rules on anti-Russian speech

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The Kremlin is branding the tech company Meta as “extremist” after its Facebook platform lifted restrictions on hostile speech toward the Russian government.

Russia also opened a criminal case on Friday against Meta because of the new rules permitting anti-Russian speech, Reuters reported.

“We demand that [U.S.] authorities stop the extremist activities of @Meta, take measures to bring the perpetrators to justice,” said the Russian Embassy in the U.S. via Twitter on Thursday. “Users of #Facebook & #Instagram did not give the owners of these platforms the right to determine the criteria of truth and pit nations against each other.”

Meta spokesman Andy Stone said the company’s platforms changed its rules for speech that is critical of Russia, but he noted that the company would not tolerate calls for violence against civilians.

“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’,” Mr. Stone said in a statement shared on Twitter. “We still won’t allow credible calls for violence against Russian civilians.”

Meta did not respond to a request for comment.

Many other businesses appear to be in Russia’s crosshairs alongside Meta. The Kremlin drafted legislation intended to prevent the exit of international businesses because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, according to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the Biden administration is aware that Russia may be considering seizing U.S. assets and international companies and that Russia would suffer in response for doing so.

“Any lawless decision by Russia to seize the assets of these companies will ultimately result in even more economic pain for Russia,” Ms. Psaki said on Twitter on Thursday evening. “It will compound the clear message to the global business community that Russia is not a safe place to invest and do business.”


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