Russia moves to block Instagram, calls Meta an ‘extremist organisation’

Instagram will join Facebook on Russia’s blocked list (Credits: Getty)

The Russian government has moved to block access to Instagram in the country.

Labelling the app’s parent company, Meta (which also owns Facebook), an ‘extremist organisation’, the move will have huge ramifications for ordinary Russians.

‘In accordance with the Federal Law ‘On Countering Extremist Activity’, the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation sent an application to the court to recognize Meta Platforms Inc. as an extremist organization and ban its activities in the territory of the Russian Federation,’ the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation said today.

The move comes right after Meta decided to relax its hate speech policy to allow Instagram users to call for violence against Russian soldiers and issue death threats for Putin.

But it will likely be a hugely unpopular decision in Russia as many people use the social media app for both pleasure and business.

‘It’s huge because this is really a much loved platform in Russia and also the source of income for lots of small businesses across the country,’ tweeted the FT’s Polina Ivanova.

‘And for young Moscow elites it’s.. everything’.

Just this week, Instagram started ‘downranking’ posts from Russian state-controlled media in people’s Feeds, and placing them lower in the Stories tray. 

Russia has already blocked Facebook from the country, but reports suggest it is letting WhatsApp (also owned by Meta) continue to operate.

WhatsApp ‘will not be affected by measures against Meta, since it is a means of communication not posting information’, a source told state-owned agency RIA Novosti.

TikTok, the Chinese-owned video app, said on Sunday that it would suspend live-streaming and the uploading of videos to its platform in Russia.

MORE : Instagram starts ‘downranking’ posts from Russian state-owned media

MORE : Twitter launches on the dark web to bypass Russia’s block

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