- One week after Russia’s communications regulator Roskomnadzor announced a ban on Facebook, Roskomnadzor announced it would also ban Instagram.
- The government decision does not refer to Russian oligarchs expressing their opposition to the invasion through Instagram.
- Concerning Meta’s unprecedented step in content filtering, a Vice story showed a similar decision last summer to temporarily allow content featuring death to Khamenei requests and chanting during a period of turmoil in the country’s southwest region Khuzestan.
- The ban will take effect on March 14th, and RIA Novosti reports that it will have no impact on Meta’s other platform, WhatsApp.
- Clegg claimed that if Meta/Instagram continued to function on their existing standards, they would now be removing content from ordinary Ukrainians expressing their fury and opposition to the Russian invasion, which they would judge undesirable.
One week after Russia’s communications regulator, Roskomnadzor, declared a ban on Facebook, its communications regulator, Roskomnadzor, stated it will also ban Instagram. While the Facebook ban was justified on the grounds of discrimination against Russian media, the government this time claims the ban is the result of a decision by parent company Meta to allow posts calling for violence against Russian soldiers if they originate in certain countries including Ukraine.
Instagram’s CEO, Adam Mosseri, stated in a tweet that this move would isolate 80 million people in Russia from one another and the rest of the globe, as 80% of Russians follow an Instagram account from outside the nation. “This is incorrect.”
The government makes no mention of Russian oligarchs using Instagram to express their opposition to the invasion. In some cases, this extends to the children of oligarchs who have amassed large followings as influencers, such as Sofia Abramovich, daughter of billionaire Roman Abramovich, who reportedly shared a message declaring that the Kremlin’s biggest and most successful lie is that the majority of Russians support Putin. Oleg Tinkov, a banker who was formerly Russia’s 15th wealthiest person, is one of the most prominent dissidents, with a message concluding, “We are against this war!”
Meta’s Content Filtering
Concerning Meta’s extraordinary move in content filtering, a Vice story last summer revealed a similar decision to temporarily allow content containing death to Khamenei demands and shouting during a time of unrest in the country’s southwest region Khuzestan. The prohibition comes only days after Meta disclosed plans for Instagram to designate state-run media outlets. It conceals information about individuals’ followers, who they follow, and those who follow each other for private accounts in Russia and Ukraine.
The restriction will take effect on March 14th, and according to Russian state-owned news source RIA Novosti, it will not affect Meta’s other platform, WhatsApp. Earlier in the day, Russian government authorities threatened to prohibit Meta unless it confirmed or refuted facts initially published by Reuters.
Last night, Meta spokesperson Andy Stone stated, “As a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, they have temporarily permitted forms of political expression that would normally be prohibited, such as violent speech such as ‘death to the Russian invaders.’ They will continue to prohibit credible calls for violence against Russian civilians.”
Meta’s president of worldwide affairs, Nick Clegg, said in a statement Friday that the company’s rules aimed to defend people’s right to self-defense in the event of a military assault. Clegg stated that if Meta/Instagram continued to operate on its current principles, they would now be eliminating content from ordinary Ukrainians expressing their outrage and resistance to the Russian invasion, which would be deemed undesirable.
Clegg stated that the interim measure would be limited to Ukraine. He explained that they have no beef with the Russian people, adding that they would not accept Russophobia or any other type of discrimination, harassment, or violence directed at Russians on their platform.