March 12, 2022 | Al Jazeera

Tim Squirrell on Russia’s response to Meta relaxing hate speech policy against Putin

Tim Squirrell, ISD’s Head of Communications and Editorial, appeared on Al Jazeera’s ‘Inside Story’ to discuss changes to Meta’s content moderation policy temporarily allowing users in some countries to incite violence against Russian soldiers.

The panel discussion, which featured academics from the Oxford Internet Institute and University of Central Lancashire, brought up issues of freedom of expression and the regulation of tech companies. Tim argued that Meta, as well as other social media companies, has substantial power with limited responsibility, particularly with respect to data transparency. A key policy ask from ISD is that tech companies be required to turn their data over to researchers for analysis, which is not currently required by law.

In addition, Tim spoke to the Kremlin’s strategy of cynically appropriating ‘liberal’ values and arguments to promote Putin’s agenda. Meta’s policy change was met by a campaign of pro-Kremlin actors promoting the hashtag ‘RussianLivesMatter’ and claiming that Russians are being subject to ‘Russophobia’. This attempt to paint Russians as victims of hatred and violence is a key building block of Putin’s justification for the invasion of Ukraine.

To watch the full segment, please click here