Russia Bans Instagram, a Week After Blocking Facebook, Twitter
Russian Internet watchdog Roskomnadzor announced that Instagram will also be banned in Russia one week after blocking the Facebook and Twitter social networks.
Last week’s decision was motivated by Meta booting pro-Kremlin media outlets and news agencies (e.g., RIA Novosti, Sputnik, and Russia Today) of its platforms.
However, this time around, Instagram’s ban comes after reports that Instagram’s parent company, Meta, decided to allow calls for violence in some countries on Facebook and Instagram against Russian invaders and the Russian and Belarusian presidents.
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“As you know, on March 11, Meta Platforms Inc. made an unprecedented decision by allowing the posting of information containing calls for violence against Russian citizens on its social networks Facebook and Instagram,” the Russian Internet watchdog said.
“Messages are circulating on the Instagram social network encouraging and provoking violent acts against Russians, in connection with which the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office demanded that Roskomnadzor restrict access to this social network.”
Russians are given two days to move to other social networks from Instagram since they will no longer be able to access their Instagram accounts starting with March 14.
“Since it will take time for active Instagram users to transfer their photos and videos to other social networks and notify their contacts and followers, Roskomnadzor decided to end the procedure for imposing restrictions on access to Instagram at 00 hours on March 14, providing users with an additional 48-hour transition period,” Roskomnadzor added.
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Meta: This is about unprecedented circumstances
Meta’s President for Global Affairs, Nick Clegg, said in response to Instagram’s ban that the decision to allow calls for violence against Russian invaders only applies to posts made from Ukraine since Ukrainians should have the right to express their fury against the invading army.
“We have no quarrel with the Russian people. There is no change at all in our policies on hate speech as far as the Russian people are concerned,” Clegg said.
“This is a temporary decision taken in extraordinary and unprecedented circumstances. We will be keeping the situation under review in the period ahead.”
The same day the ban on Facebook and Twitter was revealed one week ago, Roskomnadzor also blocked access to some foreign news outlets, including Voice of America, BBC, DW, and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
The media outlets’ ban was justified by saying that they were allegedly spreading fake news regarding the ongoing invasion of Ukraine, the military tactics used against Ukrainian civilians, and the total number of casualties suffered by the Russian army.
Google was also asked to stop ad campaigns spreading on YouTube videos what the Russian telecom watchdog described as “misinformation” about the Russian invasion of Ukraine.