Russia-Ukraine War: Russia, in its recent move, has added the United States-based tech-giant ‘Meta’ to its list of “extremists and terrorist organizations“. The following move was announced by the state financial watchdog Rosfinmonitoring’s database.
The usage of Meta services like Facebook and Instagram has been banned by Kremlin since March as it blamed the company for tolerating Russophobia during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The users had been left with the inability to access these platforms without the use of a VPN.
Russia had banned Facebook and Instagram for carrying out extremist activities after Meta was blamed for inaction against Russophobia in the initial days of the war.
Adding Meta to the list of ‘terrorist & extremist organizations’ implies any Russian citizen or company indulged in purchasing ads on Facebook or Instagram is liable to 10 years of imprisonment on the grounds of “sponsoring extremism”.
On the other hand, Russian Senator Andrei Klishas stated that “Users of Meta products do not violate the law. The legal situation has not changed in any way since the court banned Meta products.”
The Russian prosecutors have already started handing out notices to citizens highlighting the criminal liability for using Facebook and Instagram, noted prominent human rights lawyer Pavel Chikov.
As per Chikov, “The recent move in itself did not really change anything, but was a reminder of the risks, which are associated with using Meta apps considering prosecutors are being proactive.”
The telegram posts from the lawyers said that the users could be prosecuted for mentioning Meta without disclaiming a ban on its activities or promoting the logo of Meta organizations.
However, restrictions on the usage of applications do not apply to WhatsApp Messenger.