Russian court upholds Facebook and Instagram ban over Meta’s ‘extremist activity’


After Russia invaded Ukraine, Putin’s regime moved quickly to block the Russian population from accessing international platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. A Moscow court upheld the decision, finding Meta guilty of “extremist activity”. However, WhatsApp remains operational in the country and is not affected by the ban, with the court ruling that the messenger could not be used for “the public dissemination of information”, as Reuters reports.

Russian censorship body Roskomnadzor further removed Meta from the list of companies allowed to operate on the Internet in Russia, with Facebook and Instagram also removed from the list of allowed social networks. News publications in Russia are forced to label Facebook and Instagram as prohibited entities when covering them and are no longer allowed to use social media logos.


It is unclear whether websites linked to their Facebook and Instagram accounts using the logos or stores displaying them in their stores will also be held liable. Russian news agency TASS quotes a prosecutor in court as saying, “Individuals will not be prosecuted simply for using Meta’s services,” but human rights activists aren’t so sure about that promise. They fear that any public display of the symbols could result in charges or up to 15 days in jail.

The decision to exclude WhatsApp from this ruling is odd, given that Russian courts have previously either blocked a company completely or not at all, and it’s unclear how WhatsApp should remain operational when Meta is otherwise banned from doing business. commercial. Since this is one of the most popular ways for the Russian people to communicate with their friends and family, the court may have taken this decision in order to show some concessions to the people.


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