Starting today, March 14, 2022, the Instagram social network is officially blocked in the Russian Federation. According to a statement by Roskomnadzor, “The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office has demanded that access to this social network be restricted,” as the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, Meta, previously allowed “the posting of information containing calls for violence against Russian citizens” on its platforms.Let me remind you that it all started late last week with a Reuters publication in which, citing internal Meta documents, it was reported that the company was temporarily changing its moderation policy and allowing Facebook and Instagram users in some countries to call for violence against Russians and the Russian military in context of “special operation in Ukraine”.
The social network also temporarily allowed “messages calling for the death of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.”
Initially, it was reported that the new moderation rules apply to Armenia, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia and Ukraine. Later, the Meta management was quick to declare that the rules apply only to Ukraine, these “permits” do not apply to civilians, and Russophobia and discrimination do not have a place on the Meta platforms.
Statement by Meta Platforms Vice President Nick Clegg
The reaction of the Russian authorities was quick and stupid:
- the Russian embassy in the United States called Meta’s actions criminal and demanded that the American authorities immediately “stop the extremist activities” of the company;
- the Prosecutor General’s Office of Russia immediately sent a request to Roskomnadzor to restrict access to Instagram (I remind you that Facebook was already blocked in early March), and also demanded to recognize Meta Platforms Inc. extremist organization and ban its activities on the territory of Russia;
- in turn, the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation opened a criminal case “in connection with illegal calls for murder and violence against citizens of the Russian Federation by employees of the American company Meta, which owns the social networks Facebook and Instagram.”
As a result, Instagram was officially included in the register of sites banned in the Russian Federation, although users were given two days (until Monday, March 14) to download archives of their data.
Let me remind you that we also wrote that Backbone provider Cogent disconnects Russian companies, and also that US authorities imposed sanctions on a Russian institution associated with Triton malware.
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