Russia included Facebook and Instagram in the list of “terrorist and extremist” organizations

The Russian financial surveillance agency, Rosfinmonitoring, included the American technology giant Meta, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram, and Whatsapp, on its list of “terrorists and extremists”, as claimed by the Prosecutor’s Office, the Interfax news agency reported Tuesday.

The conglomerate is already blacklisted by the Russian service on the portal of that government body.

A Moscow court in June rejected an appeal by Meta after it was found guilty of “extremist activity” in Russia in March and banned its operations in the country. In court, Meta’s lawyer then said that the company did not carry out extremist activities and that they were against Russophobia.

The Russian Prosecutor’s Office also presented a petition to Parliament to investigate the company’s activities for “spreading terrorist propaganda” and threatening the safety of Russian citizens. A legislative committee also accused Meta of inciting violence and the murder of Russian citizens.

Thus, the Prosecutor’s Office relied on two articles of the penal code that indicate Meta as a participant in acts of “terrorist propaganda” and “inciting hatred and enmity with the threat of violence”, while accusing the company of reducing its restrictions on “hateful content” towards Russian citizens, in a decision that “encourages the permissibility of terrorist activities” against the population and military personnel.

Meta had announced on March 10 that the platforms would allow statements such as “death to Russian invaders” but not credible threats against civilians, before saying the change only applied to users posting from within Ukraine.

Facebook and Instagram have been inaccessible in Russia since March, but many Russians turned to VPN to continue using the social network. Instagram is especially popular in Russia, and it used to be a key platform for advertising and sales.

Billions of people use the Meta app around the world.

This decision puts Meta on the same list as right-wing nationalist groups, foreign terrorist organizations, including the Taliban, and Russian opposition groups.

On the other hand, Rosfinmonitoring also included in its list of “terrorist organizations” the Vesna civil movement, which in recent weeks has called for protests against the “partial mobilization” decree approved by the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, in the framework of the war in Ukraine, as reported by the Russian news agency Interfax.

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