Russian court bans Facebook and Instagram over ‘extremism’ charges

MOSCOW (AP) – A Moscow court banned Facebook and Instagram on Monday for what it deemed extremist activities in a case against their parent company, Meta.

Tverskoy Court complied with a request from prosecutors to have Meta Platforms Inc. and banned Facebook and Instagram for what they called “extremist activities.” Prosecutors have accused social media platforms of ignoring government requests to remove what they describe as fake news about Russian military action in Ukraine and are calling for protests in Russia.

The court’s ruling prohibits Meta from opening offices and doing business in Russia. Meta declined to comment when contacted by The Associated Press.

Prosecutors have not asked for a ban on the messaging service WhatsApp, owned by Meta, which is very popular in Russia. The authorities also emphasized that they do not intend to punish individual Russians who use Facebook or Instagram.

Instagram and Facebook had already been blocked in Russia after communications and media regulator Roskomnadzor said they were being used to incite violence against Russian soldiers. In addition to blocking Facebook and Instagram, Russian authorities have also cut off access to foreign media websites.

The court’s ruling comes amid multiple efforts by Russian authorities to control the message during military action in Ukraine, which the Kremlin describes as a “special military operation” designed to expel alleged “neo-Nazi nationalists” to clear away.

A new law accelerated by the Kremlin-controlled parliament on March 4, a week after Russia launched its attack on Ukraine, provides for prison terms of up to 15 years for posting “fake” information about the military that deviates from official information. story.

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