Russia to block Instagram after Meta softens stance on Putin’s hate speech | Russia
Russia has decided to block Instagram after its parent company, Meta, said it would allow calls for violence against Vladimir Putin and Russian soldiers involved in the invasion of Ukraine to appear on the platform. social media.
Russian prosecutors on Friday demanded that access to Instagram be blocked after news outlets reported the relaxation of its policy on war-related hate speech.
Russia’s Prosecutor General’s Office said in a statement that it had decided to recognize Meta as an “extremist organization and to ban its activities on the territory of Russia,” saying the platform had also been used to incite ” mass riots accompanied by violence”. Several Russian regional governors also deleted their Instagram accounts on Friday, state news agency RIA Novosti reported.
Meta is also the parent company of Facebook, which the Russian government blocked access to last week, and WhatsApp, one of Russia’s most popular messaging apps. It is not yet clear whether WhatsApp will also be targeted by government regulators.
The social media giant’s crackdown will further limit most Russians’ access to outside information about the war, increasing the influence of state media. Putin approved new legislation last week that threatens Russians accused of sharing “false information” about the war with up to 15 years in prison.
Meta’s decision to allow speech targeting Russians is part of an extraordinary wave of corporate activism in the face of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with hundreds of brands leaving the Russian market. The invasion left thousands dead and created a refugee crisis in Europe with more than 2 million people fleeing Ukraine after just two weeks of war.
“Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, we temporarily allowed forms of political expression that would normally violate our rules, such as violent speech such as ‘death to Russian invaders’. We still will not allow credible calls for violence against Russian civilians,” a Meta spokesperson said in a statement, according to Reuters.
In a recent email to moderators, Meta highlighted a change in its hate speech policy regarding both Russian soldiers and Russians in the context of the invasion, Reuters reported.
“We are issuing a Policy Spirit Allowance to allow T1 violent speech that would otherwise be removed under the Hate Speech Policy when: (a) targeting Russian soldiers, excluding prisoners of war, or (b) targeting Russians where it is clear that the context is the Russian invasion of Ukraine (e.g. content mentions invasion, self-defense, etc.),” he said. stated in the email.