Russia’s Communications Agency, Roskpmnadzor has announced the ban of video and picture platform, Instagramfrom the country, effective March 14, 2022. This coming just a week after it banned its sister platform, Facebook after it accused the social media giant of ‘discriminating against theRussian media’.
The Russian authorities while justifying the addition of Instagram to the ban premised its decision on Meta’s decision to modify its hate speech rule to allow posts and comments calling for violence against Russian authorities.
The Russian agency in a statement announcing the ban of Instagram said:
“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.
“Since it will take time for active Instagram users to transfer their photo and video materials to other social networks and notify their contacts and subscribers, Roskomnadzor decided to complete the procedure for imposing restrictions on access to Instagram at 00:00 on March 14, providing users with an additional 48 hours of transition period.
“The government’s decision does not mention that Russian oligarchs have used Instagram to speak out against the invasion. In some instances, this extends to the children of oligarchs who have become influencers with large followings like Sofia Abramovich, daughter of billionaire Roman Abramovich, who reportedly shared a message saying, “the biggest and most successful lie of Kremlin’s propaganda is that most Russians stand with Putin.” Banker Oleg Tinkov, who was at one point the 15th-wealthiest person in Russia, is one of the most notable dissenters with a post that ended by saying, “We are against this war!”
Instagram Head, Adam Mosseri while responding to the ban in a tweet said that: “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.”
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.
The Instagram ban which will be effective from March 14th will not affect WhatsApp, another Meta-owned platform, according to Russian state-owned media agency RIA Novosti.
Nick Clegg, Meta’s Global Affairs President in a statement on Friday said the policies of the Mark Zuckerberg-owned company were “focused on protecting people’s right to speech as an expression of self-defense in reaction to a military invasion of their country.” Clegg said if Meta/Instagram applied its standing policies without adjustment “we would now be removing content from ordinary Ukrainians expressing their resistance and fury” to the Russian invasion, “which would rightly be viewed as unacceptable.”
According to Clegg, the temporary policy would apply only within Ukraine itself. “We have no quarrel with the Russian people,” he said adding “we will not tolerate Russophobia or any kind of discrimination, harassment or violence towards Russians on our platform.”