Russia blocks Instagram

Russia blocks Instagram. Credit: Alexander Shatov on Unsplash

Instagram blocked by Russian state regulator Roskomnadzor

Roskomnadzor, Russia’s telecoms regulator, has this afternoon, Friday, March 11, blocked Instagram in the country at the request of the General Prosecutor’s Office. This action comes as a result of the social network’s refusal to remove calls for violence against Russians, including the military.

“According to the demand of the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office, access to the social network Instagram, owned by Meta Platforms, will be restricted in the territory of the Russian Federation”, the regulator announced, as quoted by Russian agencies.

Adding, “After informational materials containing calls for violence against citizens of the Russian Federation, including the military, were placed on the social network Instagram”.

The Russian regulator was referring to a statement issued this Friday by Meta spokesman Andy Stone. In it, he said that “the company has lifted the ban on its social networks for citizens of various countries to publish information containing calls for violence against citizens of the Russian Federation, including the military”.

Meta, the company that owns Facebook and Instagram, announced this Friday that, temporarily due to the war in Ukraine, it will allow users to bypass its rules of use and send messages that would normally be prohibited, such as “death to the Russian invader”.

Andy Stone, the company spokesman,  explained that the exceptions are allowed on a temporary basis due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as long as they do not include “credible” death threats against Russian civilians.

However, Meta does allow calls for the death of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko, issued from Ukraine, Poland, and Russia itself.

The Russian government had blocked Facebook in the country last week in response to restrictions Moscow believes the company has placed on pro-Russian media outlets.

A source quoted by the Interfax agency said that the Prosecutor’s Office’s request to restrict Meta’s social networks does not include WhatsApp. “WhatsApp is a means of communication, it is not used for publishing, so the blocking does not concern it”, as reported by diariodesevilla.es.

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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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