August 13, 2022
Facebook parent Meta, Twitter, YouTube told to archive evidence of suspected Russian war crimes

Four Democratic lawmakers on Thursday asked the CEO of Meta, which owns YouTube, TikTok, Twitter and Facebook, to archive material that could be used as evidence of suspected Russian war crimes in Ukraine.

Ukraine and the West say Russian troops have committed a war crime in an 11-week invasion of their neighbor that has killed thousands of civilians. Russia denies the allegations and says it does not target civilians.

In a letter to META CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the leaders of the House Oversight and Foreign Affairs committees, lawmakers including Carolyn Maloney and Gregory Meeks, encouraged the company to preserve the content posted on its sites.

The letter said that material “could potentially be used as evidence as the US government and international human rights and accountability monitors investigate Russian war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other atrocities in Ukraine.”

The letters were also signed by two subcommittee chairmen, William Keating and Stephen Lynch.

The United Nations Human Rights Council on Thursday passed a resolution to establish investigations into possible war crimes by Russian troops in the capital Kyiv and beyond, a move that Russia termed as a political score-settlement.

Meanwhile, Facebook’s parent Meta Platforms said on Wednesday that it has withdrawn a request for policy guidance from its oversight board regarding content moderation of posts related to Russia’s ongoing war with Ukraine.

“This decision was not taken lightly – the PAO (Policy Advisory Opinion) was withdrawn due to ongoing safety and security concerns,” the company said in a blog post.

The board, which can make binding decisions on specific prickly content moderation appeals and make policy recommendations, said it was “disappointed” by the decision.

A META spokesperson declined to provide further details about the policies it was seeking guidance on or specific concerns.

Russia banned social media platforms Facebook and Instagram in March, finding Meta guilty of “extremist activity” amid Moscow’s crackdown on social media during its invasion of Ukraine. There is no effect of the ban on Meta’s messaging service WhatsApp. Russia has also strangled Twitter by slowing down its service.

© Thomson Reuters 2022


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