Instagram banned in Russia after allowing posts calling for violence against Mater

Russian Instagram users have been informed that the service will be shut down from midnight on Sunday when its owner Meta Platform said last week that it would allow Ukrainian social media users to post messages like “Death of Russian invaders”.

An email from the state communications regulator asked people to remove their photos and videos before Instagram shut down and encouraged them to switch to Russia’s own “competitive Internet platform”.

Meta, which also owns Facebook, said Friday that a temporary change in its hate speech policy in the wake of Russia’s February 24 attack has only been implemented in Ukraine.

The agency said it would be wrong for Ukrainians to refrain from “resisting and expressing anger at the invading military.”

The decision was welcomed with outrage in Russia, where authorities on Friday launched a criminal investigation into the matter and prosecutors have asked a court to designate the US technology giant as an “extremist organization.”

The head of Instagram says the block will affect 80 million users. Russia has already banned Facebook in the country in response to restrictions on Russian media access to the platform.

The decision to authorize calls for violence against Russians was described by the regulator Roskomnadzor as a violation of international law.

“We need to ensure the mental health of our citizens, especially children and adolescents, to protect them from online harassment and insults,” it said, explaining the decision to shut down the platform.

Thomson Reuters 2022

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