Russia Includes Meta on the list of “terrorist and extremist” Organizations
Moscow banned Meta Facebook and Instagram at the end of March for “carrying out extremist activities”, and for tolerating “Russophobia”.
Russia on Tuesday added US tech giant Meta, the parent company of Instagram and Facebook, to its list of “terrorist and extremist” organizations, according to the database of the Federal Service for Financial Monitoring (Rosfinmonitoring).
In late March, Russia banned Facebook and Instagram for “carrying out extremist activities” after authorities accused Meta of condoning “Russian fear” during the Russian military campaign in Ukraine.
Meta had announced on March 10 that the platforms would allow statements such as “the death of Russian invaders” but not credible threats against civilians, before saying that the change only applies to users posting from Ukraine.
Facebook and Instagram have been inaccessible in Russia since March, but many Russians have turned to a VPN to continue using the social network.
Prominent human rights lawyer Pavel Chekhov said the latest move “in itself did not change anything” but was a reminder of the risks associated with using apps “given that prosecutors are acting proactively”.
On Telegram, the lawyer said that users could be prosecuted for mentioning the Meta without abandoning the ban on their activities or displaying the logo of any Meta organization.
According to Chekov, Russian companies that advertise on apps can also be accused of participating in the activities of an extremist organization.
The ban does not apply to the popular messaging app WhatsApp.
Instagram is especially popular in Russia and was used as the main platform for advertising and sales.
Billions of people use the app around the world.
This decision places Meta on the same list of right-wing nationalist groups and foreign terrorist organizations, including the Taliban and Russian opposition groups.
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