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Russia Moves to Ban Instagram After Blocking Facebook

Internet censor agency Roskomnadzor says posts are encouraging violence against Russians

Russia’s internet censor agency Roskomnadzor said on Friday it plans to block access to Instagram after the company made exceptions a day earlier to allow content about violence against Russians.

The move comes after parent company Meta on Thursday said it would temporarily allow content calling for violence against “Russian invaders” in Russia, Ukraine and Poland. Roskomnadzor said in its update that posts encouraging and provoking violence against Russians are spreading on Instagram.

In response, Russia’s restriction of the app will go into effect on March 14 in order to let users transfer their data and notify their networks, according to the agency.

“The Instagram social network distributes informational materials containing calls to commit violent acts against citizens of the Russian Federation, including military personnel. According to a spokesperson for Meta Platforms Inc. Andy Stone dated 03/11/2022, the company removes the ban on its social networks for residents of a number of countries to post information containing calls for violence against Russian citizens, including military personnel,” the agency said on its site, which was translated by Google.

Meta reps did not respond immediately to TheWrap’s request for comment.

This change is an exception to Meta’s hate speech rules, which would have otherwise removed violent speech posts targeting Russian soldiers, with the exception of prisoners of war, or those targeting Russians where it’s clear the context is the invasion of Ukraine. Meta said its policy continues to prohibit attacks on Russians.

Earlier this month, Russia’s internet censorship agency said it was banning Facebook in the country in response to the platform’s restrictions on Russian media. Twitter was also restricted in Russia following that news, while other tech companies have continued responding to sanctions by halting their ad sales and other operations in Russia.

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