(Joshua Paladino, Headline USA) Russia has banned Facebook and Instagram from operating in the country after a Moscow court ruled that Meta Platforms Inc. acted as an “extremist” organization, RT reported.
The court found that Instagram rejected 4,600 Russian requests to remove false information about the Ukraine war as well as 1,800 requests to remove posts that advocated for illegal protests against the war.
Even before the ruling, Russians could not access Facebook because Meta announced that it would temporarily suspend its rules prohibiting hate speech and violent threats against Russians—up to and including calls to assassinate President Vladimir Putin.
“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 violent speech such as ‘death to the Russian invaders.’ We still won’t allow credible calls for violence against Russian civilians,” a Meta spokesperson said in a statement, according to Reuters.
This mindset reached its peak when Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., called for Putin’s assassination on Twitter, though Meta does not own that platform.
Is there a Brutus in Russia?Is there a Brutus in Russia? Is there a more successful Colonel Stauffenberg in the Russian military?
The only way this ends is for somebody in Russia to take this guy out.
You would be doing your country – and the world – a great service.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) March 4, 2022
Meta Platforms requested that the Russian court cease or suspend its ruling because the company—formerly known as Facebook, Inc.—has its headquarters in the United States and should stand trial there.
Meta’s lawyers also argued that the company “changed its policy after public discussions and now declares that Russophobia and calls for violence against Russian citizens are unacceptable.”
Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) supported the ban on Facebook and Instagram, arguing that Meta’s platforms “were aimed against Russia and its armed forces.”
The FSB called on the Moscow judge to “immediately” suspend Meta’s operations in Russia.
The lawyer who prosecuted Meta said Russians “won’t be held liable for simply using Meta’s products,” though they will have to access them through irregular channels.
Eighty million Russians were registered on Instagram.