This morning Russia has banned Instagram for allowing hate speech against Putin along with Russian soldiers and politicians. This ban is due to Meta’s decision to let users call for violence against Putin in the context of the Ukraine invasion.
Russia’s communications and media regulator, Roskomnadzor, told users to move their photos and videos from Instagram before it was shut down. They also encouraged them to switch to Russia’s competitive internet platforms.
“We need to ensure the psychological health of citizens, especially children and adolescents, to protect them from harassment and insults online.”Roskomnadzor, Russia’s communications and media regulator
According to Meta, it was wrong to prevent Ukrainians from “expressing their resistance and fury at the invading military forces.”
Russian authorities have launched a criminal investigation against Meta, with prosecutors asking to label the company as an extremist organization.
Russia’s ban on Instagram
Russia’s ban on Instagram came into effect on March 14, 2022. According to the head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, this ban will affect 80 million Instagram users. Russia already has limited access to Twitter and partially blocked Facebook, also owned by Meta.
Many Russian bloggers were also in disbelief over the ban. Reality TV star Olga Buzova, who has the second-largest Instagram audience in Russia, wrote, “Right now, I’m writing this post and crying, I hope this isn’t true.”
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Russia has now joined the club of countries (China and North Korea) that has banned these massive social media websites.
Since the invasion of Ukraine, Russian authorities have also started to put pressure on independent media organizations. Due to this, freedom of the press is rapidly declining in the country.