29.03.2022 Marketing Brands Digital International

Russia bans Facebook and Instagram over extremist activity

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine generates tensions on several levels, notably in terms of communication. Additionally to the physical conflict, both countries also lead a communication war on digital platforms. This escalated so far that a Russian court came to the conclusion that Facebook and Instagram were ones of the roots of extremist ideas spread.

Following a court decision, all activities from Facebook and Instagram have been banned in the country. These platforms’ parent company, Meta, is accused of extremism, and therefore of violating Russian law. It is to note that the use of both targeted platforms was already restricted earlier this month. However, this ban does not encompass WhatsApp, also part of Meta, since it is not considered as a source of information.

Meta’s announcement regarding its hate speech policies regarding Russian soldiers and the Russian president was the warning signal for the Russian court. The company declared that these policies would apply to users posting from Ukraine. Overall, Russian authorities are tempting to include Meta among the extremist groups, such as al-Qaeda or Russian opposition’s members.

Moreover, on top of penalizing Russian citizens, this ban also affects business companies and artists. Instagram was an essential platform to expand their visibility to a large public and hence, to promote their brands, products or songs. Evenly, opposition groups were also dependent on these platforms to share their opinions, since they have no visibility on local news.