Russia Labels Meta 'Extremist and Terrorist' Organization

Russia’s financial monitoring agency, Rosfinmonitoring, has reportedly added Instagram and Facebook's parent company, Meta Platforms Inc, to its "terrorists and extremists" list.

Russia Labels Meta 'Extremist and Terrorist' Organization
Image credit: Al Jazeera

Facts

  • Russia’s financial monitoring agency, Rosfinmonitoring, has reportedly added Instagram and Facebook's parent company, Meta Platforms Inc, to its "terrorists and extremists" list.
  • This comes after Moscow banned Facebook and Instagram in March for alleged "extremist activities" following accusations by Russian authorities that the company tolerated "Russophobia" amid the Ukraine war.
  • Moscow also accused Facebook of restricting users' access to government-backed news outlets such as Sputnik and Russia Today. The latest decision means that all services provided by Meta will be fully unavailable in Russia.
  • In March, Meta announced that it would temporarily allow people affected by the war in Ukraine to "express violent sentiments toward invading armed forces," though not toward civilians. The company denied accusations that it was promoting anti-Russian sentiment, and a Moscow court rejected Meta's appeal of the ban in June.
  • Despite the designation, Russian Senator Andrei Klishas said on Tuesday that users of Meta products wouldn't be prosecuted. However, Russian citizens and companies that buy ads on Facebook or Instagram could face up to 10 years in prison for "sponsoring extremism."
  • In late September, Meta claimed to have taken down the largest and most complex Russian propaganda operation on its platforms since the start of the Ukraine war before it could reach a large audience.

Sources: Al Jazeera, Moscow Times, Business Insider, BBC News, and Associated Press.

Narratives

  • Pro-Russia narrative, as provided by Global Times. Not only has Meta routinely censored narratives that oppose the West's stance, but the social media platform — which has been a loud advocate against hate speech — has also dangerously promoted "Russophobia." Meta has become a servant to the White House, and there's no room for its double standards in Russia.
  • Anti-Russia narrative, as provided by CFR. As Putin continues the war on Ukraine, free speech and the press environment in Russia have been almost entirely repressed. In an ironic, albeit unsurprising, turn of events, Moscow has now banned Meta after accusing the company of launching its own censorship agenda. By monitoring and suppressing social media, Russia will only continue its harsh crackdown on bringing media fully under state control.
  • Cynical narrative, as provided by Time. Russia and the West are both pushing for unprecedented censorship in an attempt to win the ideas war. This is a dangerous violation of freedom of expression, a fundamental right of not only the speaker but also the audience. As history has shown time and again, nothing good comes of restricting speech, which only harms the society it purports to protect.

Predictions