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Russia moves to ban Instagram, WhatsApp, and Facebook

Source: Luke Filipowicz / iMore

State-sponsored media in Russia reports that the country’s prosecutor has asked its media watchdog to restrict access to Instagram and other Meta platforms, in response to the news it was allowing calls for violence against Russian soldiers and Russians in the context of the invasion to persist .

According to state-backed RIA Novosti,

The Prosecutor General’s Office sent a request to Roskomnadzor to restrict access to Instagram, after the company Meta, which owns the social network, allowed users to call for violence against the Russian military.

The news was also reported by TASS,

Russia will resort to resolute measures in case US-based company Meta, which operates social network platforms Facebook and Instagram, fails to ban calls for violence against Russian nationals, particularly Russian troops, Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday.

Both reports indicate that the move has come as a result of reports that Meta will allow users on Facebook and Instagram in some countries to call for violence against Russians and Russian soldiers, in an apparent temporary change to its hate speech policy. As reported by Reuters,

“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,” a Meta spokesperson said in a statement.

Criminal investigations against the company have also reportedly been opened in Russia. A multitude of companies, including Apple, have altered operations in Russia in response to the invasion of Ukraine, which has now entered its third week. Apple stopped selling all products in the country and has removed some state-sponsored media from its App Store. Economic sanctions and financial turmoil means that devices like the company’s best iPhone, the iPhone 13, are now 50% more expensive in real-terms than they were just weeks ago.

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