Meta loses appeal in Russian court over 'extremist activity' tag

| Updated: June 23, 2022 13:12:42

Meta loses appeal in Russian court over 'extremist activity' tag

A Moscow court on Monday rejected an appeal brought by Meta Platforms Inc after it was found guilty of "extremist activity" in Russia in March, reports Reuters citingTASS news agency.

Russia restricted access to Meta's flagship platforms Facebook and Instagram, as well as fellow social network Twitter, in the wake of Moscow sending tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24, a move critics have cast as an effort by Russia to exert greater control over information flows.

Meta did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment. Lawyer Victoria Shakina in March told a court that Meta was not carrying out extremist activity and was against Russophobia.

Russia initially banned Facebook for restricting access to Russian media while Instagram was then targeted after Meta said it would allow social media users in Ukraine to post messages urging violence against Russian President Vladimir Putin and troops Moscow sent there.

Russia has also objected to foreign platforms' treatment of its own media, some of which carry labels of being 'state-controlled'. State communications regulator Roskomnadzor has also regularly fined social media companies that fail to delete content Russia deems illegal.

Reuters could not independently verify that account and the lawyer could not immediately be reached.

The ruling caused some confusion in March because Meta's WhatsApp service remained available. Furthermore, prosecutors said that individuals would not be charged simply for using Meta's services, which are still accessible through virtual private networks (VPNs).

According to the ruling, when referring to Meta in the public sphere, organisations and individuals are required to include the disclaimer that Meta's activities are banned on Russian territory.

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