Facebook was blocked in Russia on March 4, but after the company’s statement about the possibility of publishing posts calling for the murder of Russian citizens, the Russian authorities escalated the situation.
On March 10, Meta Facebook spokesman Andy Stone announced a temporary halt to blocking messages calling for murder:
As a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, we temporarily adjusted for forms of political expression that typically violate our rules, such as hate speech such as “death to Russian occupiers.”We continue to reject credible calls for violence against Russian citizens.
Following this, the Russian court opened a criminal case against Facebook.
“In connection with the presence of signs of crimes” provided for in Part 2 of Article 205.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (propaganda of terrorism) and paragraph “a” of Part 2 of Article 282 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (incitement of hatred and enmity with the threat of violence)”, materials were sent to the Investigative Committee of Russia to resolve the issue of criminal prosecution, the prosecutor’s office said.
At the same time, Meta (Facebook) stated:
• The new policy of Facebook and Instagram will be applied only in Ukraine, allowing local users to “express anger” towards the troops of the Russian Federation;
• Facebook and Instagram will not tolerate Russophobia and any discrimination against Russians. The Russian authorities have decided to block the social network Insagram, owned by Facebook, which will be blocked in the next 24 hours.
Blocking Insagram will hit Russian SMM managers the most, who urge users to go to the social network “Vkontakte“.