Facebook and Instagram are no longer available in Russia. As expected, this Monday a Moscow court has described as “extremist” Goalthe parent company that owns both social mediawhich is prohibited from having branches and doing business in its territory.
The opinion signed today does not extend this prohibition to WhatsApp, also owned by Meta, considering that it is a messaging application used for communication between citizens and not for the publication of information. The judicial decision will not affect the citizens who have used those platforms. “The use of Meta products by natural and legal persons should not be considered as participation in extremist activities,” said a spokesman for the Prosecutor’s Office.
On March 11, the Russian Prosecutor’s Office already requested the definitive ban on Facebook and Instagram in Russian territory after learning that the company would allow -temporarily and in nine countries- the publication of comments from hate against Russian troops in the context of the war in Ukraineas well as the praises of the neo-Nazi paramilitary group Azov Battalion.
Both digital platforms had already been blocked in the country for more than a week, but this Monday’s court decision definitively certifies their prohibition. His verdict has taken effect immediately, which means that Russian citizens no longer have access to Facebook and Instagram. The first was blocked on March 4 after learning that the platform was closing access to media from the Kremlin such as RT or Sputnik, while the second was on the 11th.
However, the Government of Vladimir Putin thus increasing its digital censorship in Russia. This Friday, a government source told the Russian agency RIA Novosti that they are also preparing to ban Youtube, which could take place this week. Moscow has also accelerated the crackdown on the internet by banning the download of VPNs, private networks with which citizens could bypass censorship to connect to social networks and prohibited web pages.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism