Russia readies to ban Instagram and declare Meta extremist organisation

The Office of the Prosecutor General of Russia demands Roskomnadzor (the Federal Service for Supervision in Telecom, Information Technology and Mass Communications) should restrict access to Instagram on the territory of the Russian Federation, RIA Novosti reports.

Roskomnadzor requires Meta Platforms Inc., which incorporates Facebook and Instagram, should provide an official response to the information about permission to post death threats and calls for violence against the Russian military participating in the operation in Ukraine.

"Roskomnadzor demanded that the administration of Meta Platforms Inc. should promptly confirm or refute the information that appeared on the network about changes in content moderation rules within Facebook and Instagram social media," a message posted on the official website of the department said.

The Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation filed a criminal case into calls for violence against Russian citizens in connection with the latest decision of the corporation.

It was reported earlier that social media users in a number of countries, including Ukraine, Georgia, Poland and the Baltic States, were temporarily allowed to publish hate speech in relation to the Russian military personnel participating in the operation in Ukraine, as well as against the leaders of Russia and Belarus.

Meta spokesman Andy Stone tweeted a screenshot of the email, according to which the company temporarily allowed forms of political expression that would normally violate the ban on posting calls for violence. Posting calls for violence in relation to Russian civilians were still prohibited, the email said.

"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,” Meta said in a statement.

The temporary policy changes on calls for violence against Russian soldiers apply to Armenia, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia and Ukraine.

"We are issuing a spirit-of-the-policy allowance to allow T1 violent speech that would otherwise be removed under the hate speech policy when: (a) targeting Russian soldiers, except prisoners of war, or (b) targeting Russians where it's clear that the context is the Russian invasion of Ukraine (eg content mentions the invasion, self-defense, etc),” the email for moderators said.

"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.”

UPDATE:

Senator Andrei Klishas said that those having accounts of Meta social networks, as well as those who continue to communicate on company's platforms despite the restrictions, will not be considered as extremist individuals.

Russia will not block WhatsApp

WhatsApp messenger service will not be affected by measures that the Russian authorities are going to take against Meta. WhatsApp is a service to exchange text messages, it does not serve as a platform where one can post and share information, a source told RIA Novosti.

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Author`s name: Editorial Team