Russia has banned the use of Facebook and Instagram in the country, branding the Meta networks ‘extremist organisations’.
The news come shortly after Reuters reported it has ‘relaxed its guidance’ on allowing posts that ‘urge violence against Russian invaders’.
Russia’s Investigative Committee has apparently stated: “A criminal case has been initiated, 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.”
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It’s believed that usage of either one of these sites will result in people being prosecuted, under the same laws that are used to prosecute ISIS terrorists.
Addressing the change in policy, Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said: “We hope it is not true because if it is true then it will mean that there will have to be the most decisive measures to end the activities of this company.”
After hearing that Facebook and Instagram have been banned, Meta has released a statement.
It reads: “As a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine we have temporarily made allowances for forms of political expression that would normally violate our rules like violent speech such as, ‘Death to the Russian invaders’.
“We still won’t allow credible calls for violence against Russian civilians.”
The Russian Embassy has blasted the decision on Twitter, writing: “We demand that authorities stop the extremist activities of @Meta, take measures to bring the perpetrators to justice.
“Users of Facebook and Instagram did not give the owners of these platforms the right to determine the criteria of truth and pit nations against each other.”
News of the ban was announced in an email sent out to moderators. It reportedly read: “We are doing this because we have observed that in this specific context, ‘Russian soldiers’ is being used as a proxy for the Russian military.
“The Hate Speech policy continues to prohibit attacks on Russians.”
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