Russian court bans Facebook and Instagram outright over ‘extremist activities’

People living in Russia will no longer be able to access Meta products including Facebook and Instagram, following a countrywide ban on the apps by a top Russian court.

The outright ban follows weeks of arguments between Meta and the Kremlin, after Facebook removed restrictions on posts inciting violence against Russian invaders in Ukraine.

Access to the apps was already heavily blocked and restricted, but now it seems Moscow has escalated restrictions even further with an outright ban.

According to Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, the Tverskoy Court of Moscow has banned Meta Platforms.

Russian prosecutors insisted extremist materials were posted on Facebook and Instagram and that Meta called for "participation in mass uncoordinated actions", as well as calls for violence against Russian citizens.

“Meta will be deprived of the opportunity to open branches and conduct any commercial activity,” the prosecutor explained.

The ban will reportedly apply to Facebook and Instagram but not to encrypted messaging app WhatsApp which is also owned by Mark Zuckerberg's tech company. WhatsApp is used by almost 65% of Internet users in the country, or 67 million people.

Meta reportedly did not agree with the ruling and rejected claims, pointing out that Meta routinely removes discriminatory posts and that the new rules at the platform do not allow incitement to violence of any civilians in the Russian Federation, and that the company opposes discrimination against Russians and calls for genocide.

Meta has been approached for comment and this article will be updated with any statements they provide.

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The ban follows news that Russian developers are creating their own clone of Instagram.

'Rossgram' will launch on March 28 and is designed to work almost exactly like the real thing.

Photos of the new social media platform suggest it will look very similar to Instagram, with a near-identical colour scheme and layout.

When Instagram was banned, app boss Adam Mosseri said: "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."

  • Facebook
  • Vladimir Putin
  • Russia
  • Russia Ukraine war

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