Powerful tech platforms like Facebook and Instagram act very differently when people make even mild criticisms of, say, Israeli occupation of Palestine
Last week, we learned that Meta – the parent company of Facebook and Instagram – has temporarily changed its rules and will allow certain posts calling for violence to remain on its platforms. Users of Facebook and Instagram who live in countries close to Ukraine will be permitted to post calls for violence against Russian soldiers and even for the deaths of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, and his Belarusian counterpart, Alexander Lukashenko – though without specifics of location or method, the company stipulated.
“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’. We still won’t allow credible calls for violence against Russian civilians,” Meta said in a statement.
Moustafa Bayoumi is the author of the award-winning books How Does It Feel To Be a Problem?: Being Young and Arab in America and This Muslim American Life: Dispatches from the War on Terror. He is professor of English at Brooklyn College, City University of New York. He is a contributing opinion writer at Guardian US