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Meta's Move to Allow Hate Speech Against Russians Fosters Xenophobia & Racism, Journalist Warns

© AFP 2023 / KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV(FILES) This file photo taken on October 28, 2021 shows the META logo on a laptop screen in Moscow as Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg announced the parent company's name is being changed to "Meta" to represent a future beyond just its troubled social network
(FILES) This file photo taken on October 28, 2021 shows the META logo on a laptop screen in Moscow as Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg announced the parent company's name is being changed to Meta to represent a future beyond just its troubled social network - Sputnik International, 1920, 13.03.2022
This week, Facebook and Instagram's parent company Meta announced that calls for violence and death against Russian armed forces and President Vladimir Putin would be allowed on its platforms in light of Moscow's special military operation in Ukraine. In response, Russia decided to restrict access to Meta services.
Meta global affairs president Nick Clegg has claimed that the company "does not tolerate Russophobia or any kind of discrimination, harassment or violence towards Russians", and said that the new hate speech policy allowing calls for violence against Russians will be applied in Ukraine only.
Talking to Sputnik, Taylor Hudak, journalist and editor with AcTVism Munich, has explained what Meta is trying to achieve with this policy, why it fits the Western narrative, and how this decision is affecting Russian citizens.
Sputnik: Meta has always portrayed itself as an inclusive platform opposed to racism and xenophobia. What do you make of the media giant actually encouraging hate speech against a specific nationality?
Taylor Hudak: This demonstrates how Meta and other Silicon Valley tech giants interfere in politics and foreign relations as Meta is a US government contractor. As a so-called private company, it is completely inappropriate for Meta to change its policies to support US interests and thus act as the right arm of the empire. Russian citizens are being targeted and are suffering now because of how the mainstream corporate media has spun the issue in Ukraine. Facebook and Instagram have ridiculous speech regulations and that is another issue, but to allow hate speech against one group of people while ‘protecting’ another group fosters xenophobia and racism against Russians.
Sputnik: Are they going to get away with this? Are we looking at any public outcry at all?
Taylor Hudak: Any serious person should be able to see that allowing for death threats against Russians is despicable. Unfortunately, this aids in the continuation of the tension and aggression between the west and Russia and it helps to serve the purpose of all out war in the region. Meta’s decision to soften the hate speech regulations against Russians and Russian entities does not advance any peaceful solution but encourages more violence and aggression.
FILE PHOTO: Meta logo is placed on a Russian flag in this illustration taken February 26, 2022.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 11.03.2022
Russia Demands That US Stop 'Extremist Activities' by Meta as Company Okays Calls for Violence
Sputnik: The EU and the US have been claiming they would try to regulate Meta's activities, but it turns out that they're now neglecting clear violations. What do you make of such a double standard?
Taylor Hudak: I am not surprised by the double standard here given that Meta is a US government contractor, and it is the parent company of Facebook, which openly admitted to collaborating with the FBI in the past. There is a strong propaganda effort taking place to ensure that people in the west support military aggression against Russia. After the mainstream corporate media lied about Iraq, Afghanistan, Russian interference in the 2016 election and COVID, I do not think we should ever trust them again.
Sputnik: How exactly does it serve the Western narrative towards Russia?
Taylor Hudak: It helps to foster anger and hatred toward Russian people and the Russian government so that people in the west will be more supportive of military aggression against Russia and not have sympathy for them.
Sputnik: Where are all the human rights organisations in this?
Taylor Hudak: Human rights organizations should acknowledge the censorship that happens on the traditional platforms like Twitter, for example. Twitter users who question the official western narrative regarding the conflict in Ukraine are being suspended and shadowbanned. This is never a good sign. People should have the ability to freely express themselves.
Sputnik: Who gave Meta the right to decide who to hate? How is such a witch hunt against one particular nation even possible in the 21st century?
Taylor Hudak: Meta/Facebook/Instagram and Twitter should not act in the interest of any government or intelligence agency. Social media and Big Tech giants serve the interests of Washington.
Sputnik: Do you believe Meta's current actions should lead to enhanced regulation of social media platforms that overtly allow its users to call for violence?
Taylor Hudak: I do not believe more regulation is the answer here, and I support free speech that is legal and does not call for violence in any way shape or form. The real problem is that these social media companies are tied to US intelligence and western interests. The major social media platforms do not serve the interest of their users.
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