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Friday, March 31, 2023

Russian court bans Facebook, Instagram on charges of ‘extremism’

MOSCOW ( Associated Press) — A Moscow court on Monday banned Facebook and Instagram for extremist activity in a case against their parent company Meta.

The Tverskoy District Court fulfilled a request from prosecutors to oust Meta Platform Inc and banned Facebook and Instagram for “extremist activities.” Russian prosecutors have accused social media platforms of ignoring government requests to remove what they described as fake news about Russian military actions in Ukraine and calls for anti-war protests in Russia.

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

Prosecutors have not requested a ban on the meta-owned messaging service WhatsApp, which is widely popular in Russia. Officials also emphasized that they do not intend to punish individual Russians who use Facebook or Instagram.

Instagram and Facebook were already blocked in Russia after the country’s communications and media regulator Roskomnadzor said they were being used to call for violence against Russian soldiers. In addition to blocking Facebook and Instagram, Russian authorities also have access to foreign media websites including the BBC, US government-funded Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, German broadcaster Deutsche Welle and Latvia-based website Meduza.

Continuing the effort, Roskomnadzor on Monday blocked the website of a European news network, Euronews. The regulator has also cut Euronews broadcasts.

The court’s decision comes amid multi-faceted efforts by Russian officials to control messages about Russia’s military action in Ukraine, which the Kremlin describes as a “special military operation” aimed at alleged “neo-Nazi nationalists”. “Have to be overthrown.

A new law fast-tracked by the Kremlin-controlled parliament on March 4, a week after Russia launched an invasion of Ukraine, provides for up to 15 years in prison for posting “fake” information about the military. which is different from the official narrative.

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World Nation News Desk
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