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Russian Court Bans Facebook, Instagram, Calls Meta ‘Extremist’

On Monday, a court in Russia banned Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, for “extremist” actions, deciding that its operations in Russia are against the law. The decision did not apply to WhatsApp.

NPR reported, “The ruling immediately bans Facebook and Instagram from Russia, where both platforms are already blocked. Russian authorities are also seeking to designate Meta an ‘extremist organization,’ which could go into effect after a potential appeal by Meta. The company did not immediately comment.”

The court also said that Facebook and Instagram were “carrying out extremist activities” but noted that WhatsApp isn’t banned because it “was means of communication, not a source of information.”

According to The Guardian, Russia’s FSB security service claimed Meta was making an “alternative reality” in which “hatred for the Russians was kindled” during the hearing on Monday.

“The activities of the Meta organisation are directed against Russia and its armed forces,” FSB representative Igor Kovalevsky told the court, as was reported by the Russian state news agency TASS.

“The use of Meta’s products by individuals and legal entities should not be considered as participation in extremist activities,” Kovalevsky also told the court on Monday. “Individuals will not be held liable for using Meta’s services,” he added.

The recent decision is part of an ongoing battle against Facebook in the country after the company relaxed some of its rules regarding calls for violence.

As The Daily Wire reported, Facebook and Instagram relaxed their community standards earlier this month. “[I]n some countries, the platforms will allow posts that call for violence against Russia, Russian soldiers, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko,” The Daily Wire highlighted.

“Meta Platforms (FB.O) will allow Facebook and Instagram users in some countries to call for violence against Russians and Russian soldiers in the context of the Ukraine invasion, according to internal emails seen by Reuters on Thursday, in a temporary change to its hate speech policy,” Reuters reported.

“According to the report, the temporary changes applied to the nearby former Soviet bloc nations of Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Russia and Ukraine,” The Daily Wire noted.

A spokesperson for Meta reportedly told Fox News Digital at the time, “As a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine we have temporarily made allowances for forms of political expression that would normally violate our rules like violence speech such as ‘death to the Russian invaders.’ We still won’t allow credible calls for violence against Russian civilians.”

The Guardian reported, “Access to Facebook and Instagram had already been restricted earlier this month after Meta confirmed it was relaxing its policies on hate speech towards Russian soldiers and Vladimir Putin in relation to the country’s war in Ukraine. Meta later said the laxer rules would only apply to people posting from inside Ukraine.”

Russia has repeatedly cracked down on journalists and those who wish to spread information in the country.

Earlier this month, several media outlets stopped their operations in Russia as Russian President Vladimir Putin took action against journalists.

As Fox News reported, Putin signed a measure into law that would put journalists in jail for publishing information that goes against officials’ statements concerning the Russian war in Ukraine.

“Under the new law, reporters face up to 15 years in prison if they report what authorities deem as false reports about the military. The legislation was passed by both chambers of the Russian parliament,” the outlet noted.

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