One week after placing a ban on Facebook in Russia, the country’s communications agency Roskomnadzor announced it will ban Instagram, too. While the Facebook ban cited “discrimination against Russian media,” this time, the government claims it’s happening because of a decision by parent company Meta directing moderators to allow posts calling for violence against Russian soldiers if they originate from certain countries, including Ukraine.
The head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, said in a tweet that “This decision will cut 80 million in Russia off from one another, and from the rest of the world as ~80% of people in Russia follow an Instagram account outside their country. This is wrong.”
On Monday, Instagram will be blocked in Russia. This decision will cut 80 million in Russia off from one another, and from the rest of the world as ~80% of people in Russia follow an Instagram account outside their country. This is wrong.— Adam Mosseri (@mosseri) March 11, 2022
Google translated from Russian, the agency’s statement says the following:
As you know, on March 11, Meta Platforms Inc. made an unprecedented decision by allowing the posting of information containing calls for violence against Russian citizens on its social networks Facebook and Instagram.
Messages are circulating on the Instagram social network encouraging and provoking violent acts against Russians, in connection with which the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office demanded that Roskomnadzor restrict access to this social network.
Since it will take time for active Instagram users to transfer their photo and video materials to other social networks and notify their contacts and subscribers, Roskomnadzor decided to complete the procedure for imposing restrictions on access to Instagram at 00:00 on March 14, providing users with an additional 48 hours of transition period.The government’s decision does not mention that Russian oligarchs have used Instagram to speak out against the invasion. In some instances, this extends to the children of oligarchs who have become influencers with large followings like Sofia Abramovich, daughter of billionaire Roman Abramovich, who reportedly shared a message saying, “the biggest and most successful lie of Kremlin’s propaganda is that most Russians stand with Putin.” Banker Oleg Tinkov, who was at one point the 15th-wealthiest person in Russia, is one of the most notable dissenters with a post that ended by saying, “We are against this war!”
As far as the “unprecedented” step taken by Meta in terms of content moderation, a report from Vicelast summer noted a similar decision to temporarily allow content including “death to Khamenei” calls and chanting that went up during a period of protests in the country’s southwest region of Khuzestan.