Exhibiting the Instagram and Facebook logos, or advertising on those platforms, could be considered illegal under Russian law. Furthermore, Russia has added Meta to list of terrorist organizations.
Rosfinmonitoring, Russia’s financial surveillance body, has placed American tech company Meta Platforms Inc. (META.O) to its list of “terrorists and extremists”, Russian news outlets revealed on Tuesday.
In June, a Moscow court dismissed Meta’s appeal after the company was deemed guilty of “extremist activity” in Russia in March. Meta’s counsel at the time stated in court that Meta was not involved in extremist activity and was opposed to Russophobia.
Rosfinmonitoring’s list concerns “organisations and individuals with regard to which there is information about their involvement in extremist activities or terrorism”.
Moscow has limited entry to Facebook and Instagram, however numerous Russian users continue to browse them using virtual private networks (VPNs), which have become increasingly popular since several Western internet sites were blocked in March.
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Roskomnadzor, the state communications regulator, has amended its roster of prohibited VPNs, according to the TASS media outlet on Tuesday. It began attempting to restrict VPNs in 2021, yet many remain operational.
Officials have repeatedly stated that Meta’s “extremist” label doesn’t at all apply to its WhatsApp communication service.
“Rosfinmonitoring’s decision to put Meta on the list of extremist organisations in no way changes the situation for users of Meta’s social networks, users of Meta products are not breaking the law,” senior lawmaker Andrey Klishas wrote on Telegram on Tuesday.
“There are no restrictions in relation to WhatsApp messenger,” he added.
Nevertheless, lawyers and digital rights organizations have observed that certain Facebook and Instagram users are being cautioned about certain content.
Pavel Chikov, a human rights lawyer, has cautioned that even exhibiting the Instagram and Facebook logos, or advertising on those platforms, could be considered illegal under Russian law.