After parent firm Meta indicated it would temporarily allow users affected by the situation in Ukraine to make postings calling for violence against “Russian invaders,” the Russian government declared Friday that Instagram would be blocked in Russia.
Roskomnadzor, Russia’s official media regulator, said in a statement that Instagram users will have until midnight on March 14 to transfer their photographs and videos to other sites. Last week, the country barred access to Facebook and Twitter.
According to Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri, the decision will have an impact on 80 million users. “This is unacceptable,” he said in an emotional video posted to Instagram, adding that banning Instagram would “shut off millions of people from loved ones and friends all over the world.”
“The situation is terrifying,” he said, adding that “we’re doing everything we can to keep people safe.” He urged users to keep their accounts private, stated that users would no longer be able to see each other’s following lists for security reasons, and stated that encrypted chats will be available in Russia and its environs.
According to a Meta spokesperson, the removal of the violent speech ban was announced to allow “those affected by war, to express violent sentiments toward invading armed forces.”
The policy change, according to the spokeswoman, protects “speech and expression for those who are facing invasion.” Normally, Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, does not accept posts that are violent in nature.
Digging In More Details
According to reports from Interfax, Russia’s independent news agency, the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office has asked a Russian court to classify Meta as an extremist organization.
Clegg stated, “This is a temporary decision made in unusual and unprecedented circumstances.” “We’ll keep an eye on the situation in the coming months.”