The Russian government on Monday, March 21, officially banned Facebook and Instagram from the country for what amounts to failing to police discussion of Russia’s ongoing and deadly invasion of Ukraine. This is coming from a report monitored on TASS, a Russian state-owned media outlet, which notes that as of now WhatsApp, another service owned by Meta (previously known as Facebook), remains unbanned.
“The Tverskoy District Court of Moscow on Monday recognized the activities of the social networks Instagram and Facebook, owned by the American company Meta, as extremist and banned their work in Russia,” notes TASS (translated from the original Russian by Google).
The Associated Press confirmed TASS’s Monday article.
Monday’s court order both makes official and expands upon an already in-progress effort to block access to Facebook within Russia. On March 4, the Russian government agency responsible for censoring the media announced it would block Facebook for allegedly violating Russian law.
“On March 4, 2022, a decision was made to block access to the Facebook network (owned by Meta Platforms, Inc.) in the Russian Federation,” read the statement, translated from the original Russian by Google, in part. “In recent days, the social network has restricted access to accounts: the Zvezda TV channel, the RIA Novosti news agency, Sputnik, Russia Today, the Lenta.ru and Gazeta.ru information resources.”
On March 11, Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, wrote about the Russian government’s then effort to block access to Instagram within the country.
“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,” he wrote.