The ban on Meta’s activity will not affect the company’s WhatsApp messaging service, the Russian court ruled.
A Russian court has labeled Meta Platforms Inc an “extremist organization”, prohibiting the US company’s activities on Russian territory.
Moscow’s Tverskoi District Court on Monday upheld a lawsuit filed by Russian prosecutors, the court’s press service said in a statement, which accused the tech giant of condoning “Russophobia” during the dispute. in Ukraine.
The court said the ban “does not apply to the activities of Meta’s WhatsApp messenger”.
Meta, formerly known as Facebook, did not immediately comment on the decision. Lawyer Victoria Shagina said in court that the company does not carry out extremist activities and opposes Russophobia, the Interfax news agency reported.
Access to Meta’s flagship platforms, Facebook and Instagram, had already been partially restricted during Russia’s attack on Ukraine.
Moscow took action after Facebook restricted the ability of Russian state media to make money on the social media platform and limited access to news outlets RT and Sputnik across the union European.
Instagram has been blocked after Meta set a moderation policy allowing social media users in Ukraine to post messages calling for violence against Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian troops.
We will continue to monitor the situation and take further action if necessary. You can find out more here: https://t.co/2Y4gDVzDyk
— Meta (@Meta) March 4, 2022
Meta has since scaled back its guidelines to ban calls for the death of a head of state and said its guidelines should never be interpreted as condoning violence against Russians in general.
However, the perceived threat to Russian citizens angered authorities and led to the initiation of criminal proceedings against the company.
Russia has previously assigned the “extremist” label to groups such as Jehovah’s Witnesses and jailed Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation.
Social media networks have become one of the fronts of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, with misleading information but also real-time monitoring of the ongoing war.
Facebook Inc rebranded itself as Meta in October, decoupling its corporate identity from the eponymous social network mired in toxic content and signaling a shift to an emerging computing platform focused on virtual reality.
Big tech and social media companies have come under pressure to respond to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has led to economic sanctions against Moscow by governments around the world.