Russian officials have called for Instagram to be banned and for parent company Meta to be designated an “extremist organization,” according to the Russian news agency. interface and state news agency TASS.
As reported by interface, The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office says it filed a petition “to recognize Meta Platforms Inc. as an extremist organization and ban its activities on the territory of the Russian Federation.”
Separately, TASS reports that the head of the Duma Information Policy Committee, Alexander Khinshtein, has called for Instagram to be banned if reports that Meta adjusted its moderation policies to allow users to call for violence against Russian soldiers are true. The state communications agency Roskomnadzor also issued a statement asking Meta “as soon as possible to confirm or refute” the reports.
“If Meta confirms this fact or refuses to comment, that will be a reason for Roscomnadzor [sic] and other colleagues to take the toughest measures,” Khinshtein said. TASS. “My opinion is that Instagram’s work in Russia in this case should be blocked, as happened to Facebook.”
The policy changes in question were first reported by Reuters and since then they have been confirmed by target. Reuters shared internal emails sent to Facebook and Instagram moderators, telling them to “allow T1 violent speech that would otherwise be removed under the hate speech policy when: (a) targeting Russian soldiers, EXCEPT prisoners of war, or (b) is directed at Russians where it is clear that the context is the Russian invasion of Ukraine (eg, the content mentions the invasion, self-defense, etc.).”
The changes apply to users in the Ukraine, Russia, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania. according to The New York Times.
A Meta spokesman, Andy Stone, confirmed to the edge that the company had made changes to its policies on violent expression. “As a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, we have temporarily allowed forms of political expression that would normally violate our rules, such as violent speech such as ‘death to the Russian invaders,'” Stone said. “We will not yet allow credible calls for violence against Russian civilians.”
Although Facebook has already been blocked in Russia, Instagram has so far escaped censorship.