According to local media, Russia has added tech giant Meta to a list of extremist and terrorist organisations.
Meta, which is owned by American billionaire Mark Zuckerberg, owns numerous major social media platforms including Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram – all of which may now be banned in Russia. A report from Interfax – a Russian, Moscow-based news company – has now claimed that these platforms are being targeted by the Russian government.
The report claims that the move was made by Rosfinmonitoring – Russia’s main financial intelligence service – and, according to Insider, Russian citizens will now lose access to these platforms.
Interfax further reports that Russian liberal youth movement Vesna – which opposes the war in Ukraine – has also been added to the list of extremist and terrorist groups.
Back in March Russia’s official tech regulator blocked citizens’ access to Facebook, accusing the platform of “discrimination” against Russian state-sponsored news outlikes like Russia Today (RT) and Sputnik.
Later that month, according to Reuters, Facebook changed its hate speech policy to allow comments and posts calling for violence against Russians and Russian soldiers in the context of the Ukraine war. The company also reportedly allowed users to call for the death of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko.
In a statement, Meta addressed its temporary change in hate speech policy, which allows Facebook and Instagram users in some countries to call for violence against Russians and Russian soldiers in the context of the Ukraine invasion https://t.co/Gh2wKFAUcg pic.twitter.com/1JQHFzAS68
— Reuters (@Reuters) March 10, 2022
Following this development, the office of Russia’s Prosecutor General’s Office called for Meta to be dubbed an “extremist organisation” under law.
Reportedly, Meta has not yet responded to a request for comment.