Meta finds unlawful removal of Azov content, restores post
The post deleted by Meta called for the return of the Azov regiment from Russian captivity. After the Supervisory Board drew attention to the complaint, the company reversed its decision and restored the post
This is stated in the decision of the Supervisory Board of December 8, 2023, according to the Center for Democracy and Rule of Law.
It is noted that in December 2022, a user from Ukraine posted a post on Instagram with the symbol of the Azov Regiment, over which a text asking "where is Azov?" was placed.
The post stated that more than 700 Azov fighters were in Russian captivity at the time. The user called for the return of all Azov fighters from captivity. This post received almost 800 views. Meta's automated systems detected it and removed it from the platform based on its policy on dangerous organizations and individuals, which prohibits content endorsing, supporting, or representing organizations and individuals that Meta classifies as "dangerous."
The user appealed against the removal of the post and emphasized the importance of disseminating such information during the war. He noted that the content did not violate Meta's policy, as Meta allows content with comments related to the Azov Regiment.
It is noted that Meta informed the Supervisory Board that it removed the Azov Regiment from its list of dangerous organizations and individuals in January 2023.
After the Supervisory Board brought the case to Meta's attention, the company decided that the removal of the post was a mistake, restored it to Instagram, and acknowledged that the Azov Regiment was no longer considered a dangerous organization by the company.
The Supervisory Board found Meta's initial decision to remove the content to be unlawful.
As Meta admitted its mistake and reversed its initial decision to remove the Azov content after the case was referred to the Supervisory Board, the Board considered the case and issued a summary judgment.
- On August 9, 2022, Instagram blocked the Association of Families of Azovstal Defenders page, which had 33,000 followers. The Association reported that it had filed an appeal against this decision. At the time, the Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine, Fedorov, commented on the situation. He emphasized that the pages of Ukrainian defenders should not be blocked. On August 10, Instagram unblocked the page of the Association of Azovstal Defenders.
- On September 9, the pages of the Azov Patronage Service on Facebook and Instagram were blocked.
- Meta, which owns Instagram and Facebook, promised to exclude content about the Azov regiment from its blocking policy.