Facebook will temporarily let its billions of users praise the Azov Battalion, a Ukrainian neo-Nazi military unit previously prohibited from open discussion under the company’s Dangerous Individuals and Organizations policy, the Intercept reports.
Recently released internal company memos obtained by the Intercept revealed Facebook’s decision to reverse a previous policy that banned users from praising the pro-Nazi soldiers because the group is helping fend off Russian troops in Ukraine.
Facebook will now “allow praise of the Azov Battalion when explicitly and exclusively praising their role in defending Ukraine OR their role as part of the Ukraine’s National Guard.”
The company’s examples of acceptable pro-Azov statements include, “Azov movement volunteers are real heroes, they are a much-needed support to our national guard”; “We are under attack. Azov has been courageously defending our town for the last 6 hours”; and “I think Azov is playing a patriotic role during this crisis.”
“Well done Azov for safeguarding Ukraine and its white nationalist heritage,” Facebook wrote in a hypothetical pro-Azov post that would be unacceptable.
The Hitler-loving soldiers have been accused of rapping and murdering civilians during the 2014 Ukraine civil war, and new evidence purports to show them dipping bullets in pork lard as a warning to Russian-deployed Muslim Chechens.
The video was proudly posted on the official Ukraine National Guard Twitter account.
“What you are watching are Azov fighters, who are indeed an openly racist hate group, admitting they are greasing their bullets with pig lard before they aim to kill Muslims,” said American left-wing activist Shaun King.