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Russia bans Facebook and Instagram over ‘extremist activities’

People in Russia will no longer be able to access Meta products, including Facebook and Instagram, after a top Russian court placed a ban on the apps.

The outright ban follows weeks of arguments between Meta and the Kremlin, after Facebook removed restrictions on posts inciting violence against Russian invaders in Ukraine.

According to Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, the Tverskoy Court of Moscow has banned Meta Platforms.

Russian prosecutors insisted extremist materials were posted on Facebook and Instagram and that Meta called for “participation in mass uncoordinated actions”, as well as calls for violence against Russian citizens.

“Meta will be deprived of the opportunity to open branches and conduct any commercial activity,” the prosecutor explained.

The ban will not apply to messaging app WhatsApp which is also owned by Mark Zuckerberg’s tech company.

Meta reportedly did not agree with the ruling and rejected claims, pointing out that Meta routinely removes discriminatory posts and that the new rules at the platform do not allow incitement to violence of any civilians in the Russian Federation, and that the company opposes discrimination against Russians and calls for genocide.

The ban follows news that Russian developers are creating their own clone of Instagram called ‘Rossgram. It will launch on March 28 and is designed to work almost exactly like Instagram.

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