Russia Keeps Ban on Facebook, Instagram for ‘Extremist Activities’

Court responds to Meta’s decision to allow calls for violence against the Russian military.

  • A Moscow court on Monday banned Facebook and Instagram in Russia as extremist organizations, after the Meta-owned platforms allowed online hate speech against Russians, RT News reports.
  • The charges in the case alleged that Meta’s Facebook and Instagram platforms had practiced “extremist activities.”
  • “We believe that the company’s operations are subject to a ban in connection with the engagement by it in extremist activities,” an official for Russia’s communications regulator Roskomnadzor said during the hearing, according to a report by Ukrainian news outlet Interfax, as reported by The Verge.
  • The judge rejected a request by Meta’s lawyers to stop or delay the proceedings against the social media giant.
  • The case suggested that Instagram had ignored around 4,600 demands to remove false content about Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, and 1,800 demands to delete calls for illegal protest, RT notes.
  • The Federal Security Service (FSB) fully backed the ban on Meta and the agency’s representative said in court that the tech giant’s actions “were aimed against Russia and its armed forces.”
  • The representative called on the judge to outlaw the US company and to “immediately” implement the decision.
  • The prosecutor assured the court that Russians “won’t be held liable for simply using Meta’s products.”
  • Facebook had already been banned in Russia prior to the court’s decision due to its repeated acts of censorship against Russian media outlets.
  • Facebook said it would allow hate speech and calls for violence against Russian nationals amid the country’s ongoing military operation in Ukraine, RT notes.
  • The Big Tech platform later clarified that the deviation from its rules was temporary and implemented only on Ukrainian territory, so that the locals could vent their anger over the conflict.
  • Meta’s lawyers claimed that the company has “changed its policy after public discussions and now declares that Russophobia and calls for violence against Russian citizens are unacceptable.”
  • The court order does not affect Meta’s other messaging platform, WhatsApp.
  • The case was reviewed in the Tverskoy district court in Moscow, Russia.