Russian court upholds ban on ‘extremist’ Facebook and Instagram

Russian court upholds ban on ‘extremist’ Facebook and Instagram

Meta, a social media platform based on Facebook and Instagram, has been banned by a judge at Moscow’s Tverskoy Court for indulging in “extremist activities,” according to initial reports from Russian state-owned media agency TASS. According to Interfax, Judge Olga Solopova stated that “the court has ruled to allow the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office’s case.” In addition to prohibiting Meta from conducting business or operating new branches in the country, the ban is set to take effect “immediately.” WhatsApp is not included in this list.

Russian court upholds ban on ‘extremist’ Facebook and Instagram

Users in Ukraine and other eastern European nations will be able to advocate for violence against Russian military, according to a moderation policy announced by Facebook and Instagram earlier this week. According to Reuters, the platforms initially instructed moderators to allow posts that called for the death of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, but later narrowed their policy by explicitly prohibiting calls for violence against Russian citizens or any heads of state.

In the hearing, an official from Russia’s communications regulator Roskomnadzor stated, according to a report by Interfax, that “we believe the company’s operations are subject to a prohibition in connection with the company’s involvement in extremist activities.” The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office, as well as the Russian Federal Security Service, petitioned for the prohibition (FSB).

According to TASS, an FSB officer stated that “Meta’s operations are directed against Russia and its armed forces.” “We demand that Meta’s activities be immediately prohibited.” In an interview with TASS, representatives from the prosecution stated that using social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram would not render individuals liable for participating in extremism; however, lawyers stated that purchasing advertising space on the sites could be construed as financing extremism.

Early this month, Roskomnadzor imposed bans on access to Facebook and Instagram, accusing the social media platforms of discriminating against content from Russian state media outlets. Both Facebook and Instagram have taken steps to demote content from any state-backed outlets, according to the regulator. Aside from that, Facebook has prohibited access to the state-owned media outlets RT and Sputnik in the European Union, as well as banned Russian state media from advertising on the social networking website.