In Russia, access to Instagram may still be possible through the use of a VPN. – Shutterstock pic
SAN FRANCISCO, March 15 – It’s a complicated time for social networks in Russia. After Facebook, it’s Instagram’s turn to join the list of platforms banned within the territory. The decision was explained by Roskomnadzor, the Russian agency responsible for monitoring and controlling mass media, following some of the latest measures taken by Meta.
The war is also getting played out on the social networks. This Monday, March 14, Russian internet users could no longer access Instagram. This ban comes more than a week after the measures taken restricting Facebook and Twitter. The Roskomnadzor has accused the Meta group of having censored Russian media and of being “involved in the violation of fundamental human rights and freedoms, as well as the rights and freedoms of Russian citizens.”
This time, it was Meta’s latest announcements that heated up relations further, according to Russia’s communications oversight service, Roskomnadzor: “As you know, on March 11, Meta Platforms Inc. made an unprecedented decision by allowing the posting of information containing calls for violence against Russian citizens on its social networks Facebook and Instagram. Messages are circulating on the Instagram social network encouraging and provoking violent acts against Russians, in connection with which the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office demanded that Roskomnadzor restrict access to this social network,” the official Russian website said, as reported by Security Affairs media site.
A decision lamented by Instagram boss Adam Mosseri, who expressed his regret in a video on the platform as well as in a Twitter message: “On Monday, Instagram will be blocked in Russia. This decision will cut 80 million in Russia off from one another, and from the rest of the world as ~80% of people in Russia follow an Instagram account outside their country. This is wrong.”
Andy Stone, Meta’s spokesperson stated: “As a result of the Russian invasion in Ukraine we have temporarily made allowances for forms of political expression that would normally violate our rules, such as ‘death to the Russian invaders.’ We still won’t allow credible calls for violence against Russian civilians.”
Meanwhile, Nick Clegg, Meta’s president of global affairs, explained that these new measures had only been rolled out in Ukraine: “To be clear, we are only going to apply this policy in Ukraine itself. We have no quarrel with the Russian people. There is no change at all in our policies on hate speech as far as the Russian people are concerned. We will not tolerate Russophobia or any kind of discrimination, harassment or violence towards Russians on our platform,” the press release, available on Twitter, outlines.
The Meta group is not the only social media to have taken action against Russia. On YouTube, the platform decided to suspend all monetization of content for Russian users and to block access to channels of media associated with the Russian government, such as RT and Sputnik, which had 4.7 million and 327,000 subscribers respectively. – ETX Studio