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Russia on Wednesday included US tech giant Meta, the parent company of Instagram and Facebook, to a list of which it has labelled as ‘terrorist and extremist’ organisations, according to a database of the Federal Service for Financial Monitoring (Rosfinmonitoring) which was sighted by Africa Daily News, New York.
Recall that in late March, Russia had announced a ban on Facebook and Instagram for allegedly ‘carrying out extremist activities’ after authorities accused Meta of tolerating what it described as ‘Russophobia’ during Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine.
Meta had announced on March 10 that the platforms would allow statements like “death to Russian invaders” but not credible threats against civilians, before saying the change only applied to users posting from inside Ukraine.
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Africa Daily News, New York reports that Facebook and Instagram have been inaccessible in Russia since March, but many Russians resorted to VPN to keep using the social media network.
Instagram is particularly popular in Russia and used to be a key platform for advertisement and sales.
Billions of people use Meta’s app around the world.
This decision puts Meta on the same list as right-wing nationalist groups and foreign terrorist organisations including the Taliban and Russian opposition groups.
In another related report, Russia has on Sunday disclosed that no fewer than three people had been killed after a truck exploded on its bridge linking Crimea — a symbol of its annexation of the peninsula — while hesitating to blame Ukraine.
Africa Today News, New York reports that this was coming less than a few days after a series of setbacks on the battlefield that triggered unprecedented criticism of its army at home, Moscow appointed a new general to lead its Ukraine offensive.
The blast had pushed through the 19-kilometre (12-mile) bridge more than seven months into Moscow’s Ukraine offensive.