Instagram has been banned in Russia by government regulators after parent Meta Platforms eased rules in Ukraine banning violent content on the social network.
Generally, major tech platforms have clear-cut policies against violent content. Meta has temporarily eased the anti-violence provision, backing it with heightened content moderation, given the number of users calling for a military response to the invasion of Ukraine. Since Russia invaded two weeks ago, everyday Ukrainians have enlisted in the armed conflict in defense of their country, and President Volodymyr Zelensky and other officials have urged citizens to grab weapons or make Molotov cocktails to join the fight.
In response to Meta’s decision, Russia’s main media regulator said it would block Instagram, adding it to Facebook on the list of major tech platforms to go dark in the territory over the past two weeks. Access to Twitter still exists, but in limited form.
Meta communications chief Nick Clegg described the rollback of the anti-violence provision a “temporary decision taken in extraordinary and unprecedented circumstances.” In a statement posted to Twitter, he said the company’s stance is “focused on protecting people’s rights to speech as an expression of self-defense in reaction to a military invasion of their country.” The policy will only apply in Ukraine, he added. “We have no quarrel with the Russian people.”
Tensions with Meta come amid a Western exodus from Russia by companies and institutions of many stripes. As a number of tech giants look to disentangle themselves from Russia, YouTube said today it was widening its global block against RT and Sputnik, which are controlled by the Russian government.
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