Russia has recently added the United States tech giant Meta to its list of “terrorists and extremists” organizations. The following announcement has been made by the state financial watchdog Rosfinmonitoring’s database.
Russia has restricted Meta products like Facebook and Instagram in March following authorities blaming the company of tolerating “Russophobia” during Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine, making the popular social media platforms inaccessible to Russian users without the use of a VPN.
During late March, Russia has banned Facebook and Instagram for “carrying out extremist activities” after authorities blamed Meta of tolerating “Russophobia” during Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine.
The recent designation by Rosfinmonitoring means Russian citizens and companies who purchase ads on Facebook or Instagram could face up to 10 years in jail on charges of “sponsoring extremism.”
Meanwhile, Russian Senator Andrei Klishas said on Tuesday, “Users of Meta products do not violate the law. The legal situation has not changed in any way since the court banned Meta products.”
Moreover, Russian prosecutors have already started handing out notices to citizens alerting them of administrative or criminal liability for using Facebook and Instagram, prominent human rights lawyer Pavel Chikov reported.
As per Chikov, “The recent move in itself, did not really changing anything, but was a reminder of the risks, which are associated with using Meta apps considering prosecutors are being proactive.”
On Telegram, the lawyer said users could be prosecuted for mentioning Meta without disclaiming the ban on its activities, or for showing the logo of any Meta organizations.
The ban does not apply to popular messenger app WhatsApp.
In March, Meta said it planned to allow its platforms’ users to post messages calling for violence against Russians, and in particular against the Russian military, amid the invasion of Ukraine — but not credible threats against civilians.
The Moscow court ruling that banned Facebook and Instagram as “extremist” organizations followed soon after.