Facebook Parent Meta, Twitter, YouTube Asked to Archive Evidence of Suspected Russian War Crimes

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

Ukraine and the West say Russian troops have committed war crimes in its 11-week invasion of its neighbor, in which thousands of civilians have been killed. Russia denies the allegations and says it does not target civilians.

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

That content “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 letter said.

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

The UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution on Thursday to establish an investigation into possible war crimes by Russian troops in places near the capital Kyiv and beyond, a move that Russia said amounted to political score-settling.

Meanwhile, Facebook parent Meta Platforms said on Wednesday it has withdrawn a request for policy guidance from its Oversight Board about the content moderation of posts related to Russia’s ongoing war with Ukraine.

“This decision was not made lightly — the PAO (policy advisory opinion) was withdrawn due to ongoing safety and security concerns,” the company said in a blog post.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 thorny content moderation appeals and give policy recommendations, said it was “disappointed” by the decision.

A Meta spokesman declined to give more information about the policies on which it was seeking guidance or about the 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. Meta’s messaging service WhatsApp is not affected by the ban. Russia has also throttled Twitter by slowing its service.

© Thomson Reuters 2022


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