Putin official criticizes Facebook for restraining freedom of speech

A Russian official is issuing a call to all lovers of freedom of speech: Turn to Russian social media, not the oppressive likes of Facebook.

Igor Shchegolev, an official under President Vladimir Putin, is recommending Russian citizens use Vkontakte, the go-to social network in the motherland, over Facebook after the social network deleted numerous posts containing Russian derogatory slang for Ukrainians.

“Tolerance is fashionable at the moment (and I’m not talking about the religious notion). But I don’t want to be tolerant!!” wrote Maxim Ksenzov, the deputy head of Roskomnadzor, Russia’s version of the Federal Communications Commission, according to The Moscow Times. “Soviet people are Soviet People. Sometimes khokhly are khokhly.”

Ksenzov was banned on Facebook for 24 hours for using the tern Khokhly, a derogatory term for Ukrainians that originated as a Ukrainian cossack style of haircut, which now implies being a backwards peasant. (Although some Ukrainians self-identity as such to differentiate themselves from Russians.)

Putin’s Russia isn’t the only country to have issue with Facebook’s policies, which reserves the right to take down hate speech, nudity and graphic content. In March, France took legal action against Facebook after the censorship of a staple French Realist painting that depicted a vagina. Yet, earlier this week, a Brazil court fined Facebook for not taking down graphic images of a car crash that killed Brazilian singer Cristiano Araujo.

Facebook just can’t win, can it?

As for Russia’s record on online freedom of speech: In April, Roskomnadzor made it illegal to parody or post memes that depict public figures in ways that do not reflect his or her “personality.” Last August, Russia enacted a law that forced bloggers with more than 3,000 daily readers to register with the government, making it impossible to stay anonymous. Interestingly enough, many Russians agree with Putin’s policies, as a study shows that nearly half of Russians believe that content on the Internet needs to be censored.

Photo: Facebook login page on a computer screen (AP Photo/Stace Maude)

 

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  • Jim Philips

    My wife is from Ukraine. OK? The term “khokhol” is not so offensive that it merits a banning from Facebook.

  • simonts

    “Tolerance is fashionable at the moment. But I don’t want to be tolerant!!” wrote Maxim
    Ksenzov, the deputy head of Roskomnadzor, Russia’s version of the
    Federal Communications Commission, according to The Moscow Times.
    “Soviet people are Soviet People.”

    First, tolerance is “fashionable” among intelligent decent human beings. You Ksnezov, are obviously not one of those. Second, so, is the Putin regime now openly back to “Soviet people”?

 
 
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