War in Ukraine: Russia bans Facebook and Instagram for ‘extremist activities’

Many mobile apps including Facebook, Messenger messaging service, WhatsApp and Instagram.
Many mobile apps including Facebook, Messenger messaging service, WhatsApp and Instagram. (©prima91 / AdobeStock)

On Monday, March 21, 2022, a Russian court bans social media giants Facebook and Instagram for “extremism”It’s a measure taken at a time when Moscow is aiming for full control of online information in the middle of an attack in Ukraine.

However, this ban does not apply to the messaging app. Whats upAlso owned by Meta, the court ruled that it was not used as a means of “disseminating information to the public.”

“The Court has satisfied the case brought by the First Deputy Prosecutor General regarding the ban on the holding company Meta Platforms Inc. from operating on the territory of Russia,” the court said. For this reason, Facebook and Instagram belonging to Meta, “banned due to extremist activities”the court added in a statement posted on Telegram.

Facebook and Instagram, especially popular in Russia, are the latest victims. information recovery He said it gained momentum after Russian authorities launched a military operation against Ukraine on February 24.

These two social networks are already blocked for several days, Twitter and still the sites of most of the independent Russian media. These are inaccessible unless you are using a virtual private network (VPN).

incitement to “hatred and enmity”

On March 11, Russian authorities asked Meta to be classified as an “extremist” organization and accused Meta of bending its own rules. Allowing the broadcasting of violent messages against the Russian military and its leaders In connection with the military operation of Moscow in Ukraine.

In court on Monday, the prosecution reiterated that request, considering that Meta justified “acts of terrorism” and whenever it wanted to. incite “hatred and enmity” towards the Russians. Russian security services (FSB) also demanded an “immediate” ban on Facebook and Instagram on Monday.

“Meta’s activities are directed towards Russia and its armed forces. We demand that this be banned and that this measure must be implemented immediately,” FSB spokesman Igor Kovalevski said at the hearing, as quoted by Interfax news agency.

According to Russian news agency TASS, a Meta representative told the court on Monday that the company has since changed its rules to ban “Russian hostility and calls for violence.” »

Meta's headquarters in Menlo Park, California, October 28, 2021.
Meta’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California, October 28, 2021. (©GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/Archives/JUSTIN SULLIVAN)

blow to russia

Since the start of the Russian intervention in Ukraine on February 24, the Russian authorities have significantly Strengthened the control of information disseminated on the InternetOne of the last areas for freedom of expression in the country.

The blocking and banning of Facebook, especially Instagram, is a blow to many Russians who use them not only for entertainment, but also for social media. do business.

Clothes, furniture, massages or language courses: Instagram a sales tool For many Russian companies, as well as for artists who depend on their own resources, online is very important. visibility On this platform to find customers in Russia and abroad.

The bans on Facebook and Instagram are also likely to affect the opposition movements that the Kremlin-controlled mainstream media regularly broadcasts on these platforms.

YouTube in viewfinder

And the trend may not stop there: last week, telecommunications regulator Roskomnadzor was accused American giant Google and YouTube video service “terrorist” activitiesThe first step towards a possible bottleneck.

The YouTube platform is changing its general terms of use on June 1, 2021.
The YouTube platform is also in the eyes of the Russian authorities. (©Pixabay)

Always on the lookout for information control, the authorities introduced two new criminal offenses at the beginning of March: one for the dissemination of information that “discredits” the Russian army, the other for the dissemination of “false” information about Russian troops.

The second offense carries a prison sentence of up to 15 years. It is of particular concern to dissidents and the independent media, who fear prosecution for any condemnation of the attack.

At least three people who posted messages against conflict on the Internet are being prosecuted for this reason.

Source: © 2022 AFP

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