Russia: Facebook and Instagram banned from the country for “extremism”

Russian justice followed the advice of the security services, which demanded the immediate banning of the two applications. WhatsApp remains online.

Facebook and Instagram are not ready to reappear on the smartphones of Russian Internet users. On Monday, a Russian court banned the two social networks after their parent company Meta was sanctioned for extremist activity.

We accede to the request of the Public Prosecutor’s Office to prohibit the activities of the company Meta“, parent company of Facebook and Instagram, said the judge, according to the agencies. The messaging application WhatsApp, also owned by Meta, is not affected by this measure. The American group does not have an office in Russia.

Justice followed the request of the Russian security services. “ The activities of Meta (parent company of Facebook and Instagram) are directed against Russia and its armed forces. We ask for its prohibition and the obligation to apply this measure immediately said an FSB spokesman during the hearing. A prosecutor also called for Meta to be banned, “ due to clear signs of extremist activity “.

A rule of controversial moderation

The legal action began shortly after Reuters revealed that the Meta group had changed its moderation rules in Ukraine and several neighboring countries. Moderators were instructed not to touch posts calling for hatred or violence against the Russian military, as well as calls for the death of Vladimir Putin. Meta, who acknowledged this information, believed that it was a question of respecting the free political expression of populations undergoing a military invasion.

Moscow did not hear it that way and felt that Meta was endangering Russian citizens by allowing calls for murder. In retaliation, the blocking of Instagram was decreed, as well as legal action to qualify Meta as an extremist organization. The American group has revised its moderation policy by only allowing Ukrainians to express their hatred of the invader, and by recalling that Russophobia was prohibited on its platform. But Moscow remained inflexible.

YouTube in the hot seat

Russia had also already taken action against the social network Facebook, which became inaccessible after its parent company blocked the accounts of Russian media RT and Sputnik in Europe. Twitter suffered the same sanction.

YouTube might be next on the list. The Russian regulator on Friday taxed the American giant Google and its activity video service “terrorists“. According to Roskomnadzor, Russia’s telecoms policeman, YouTube users “run advertisements with calls to shut down railway communications from Russia and Belarus“.

The activities of the YouTube administration are terrorist in nature and threaten the life and health of Russian citizenssaid Roskomnadzor, quoted by the Interfax news agency.

SEE ALSO – War in Ukraine: Russian regulator blocks Facebook and ‘restricts access’ to Twitter

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