Russian financial agency adds Facebook and Instagram to list of ‘terrorists and extremists’

In a key development, Russia’s financial monitoring agency, Rosfinmonitoring, added U.S. tech giant Meta Platforms Inc. (META.O) to its list of “terrorists and extremists” on Tuesday (October 11).

After Ukraine was invaded in March, a Russian court called Meta an “extremist” and banned Facebook and Instagram in the country. The Moscow court said Facebook and Instagram – both widely used by Russians – “carried out extremist activities”. But he said the WhatsApp messaging service, also from META, would not be banned because it “was a means of communication, not a source of information”.

Meta then dismissed the allegations and told the court that the organization had never engaged in extremist activities and was against “Russophobia”. In June, Meta appealed against the tag, but it was rejected.

The decision to brand Facebook and Instagram as “extremists” comes as Russia continues its unprecedented crackdown on protesters, independent news outlets and foreign social networks. Ever since Moscow launched a special operation in Kyiv, the authorities have sought full control of the country’s information sphere.

Geraldine L. Melton