Meta Platforms Inc has been labeled an “extremist organization” by a Russian court, which has barred the company from operating in Russia.
The court’s press service stated in a statement that the Tverskoi District Court in Moscow upheld a complaint filed by Russian state prosecutors accusing Facebook of tolerating “Russophobia” during the Ukraine crisis.
The restriction “does not extend to the activity of Meta’s messenger WhatsApp,” according to the court.
Meta, formerly known as Facebook, did not respond to a request for comment on the decision right away. But according to the Interfax news agency, lawyer Victoria Shagina stated in court that the company was not involved in extremist activities and opposed Russophobia.
During Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, access to Meta’s key platforms Facebook and Instagram had already been restricted in several ways.
After Facebook curtailed Russian state media’s ability to earn money on the site and blocked access to the RT and Sputnik news channels across the European Union, Moscow retaliated.
Instagram was shut down when Meta announced a moderation policy that allowed Ukrainians to post messages advocating violence against Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian forces on social media.
Meta’s counsel has subsequently been adjusted to prevent demands for the death of a head of state, and it has stated that its guidance should never be understood as supporting violence against Russians in general.
However, the authorities were enraged by the apparent threat to Russian nationals, and a criminal complaint was filed against the company.
Meta isn’t the only internet company that has restricted Russian news coverage; YouTube has demonetized a slew of Russian news channels.
Russia’s news accounts are also subject to stringent limitations on YouTube channels and other social media sites with Western affiliations.