Instagram will soon be inaccessible in Russia, according to regulator Roskomnadzor. The latest ban is in response to Facebook "temporarily" changing its rules to allows for calls for violence against Russian soldiers and Vladimir Putin.
Though Facebook has been “restricted” in the country for more than a week, the ban didn’t extend to Instagram. State news agency TASS reported earlier that Russian lawmakers had called for that to change, though, in response to the company's updated policy. The state prosecutor also reportedly asked for Facebook-owner Meta to be labeled an "extremist organization" and the Russian government opened a criminal investigation into the company, according to CNBC.
Now, the state regulator Roskomnadzor says that it will move to cut off access to the photo sharing app on March 14th. “Messages are circulating on the Instagram social network encouraging and provoking violent acts against Russians, in connection with which the Russian Prosecutor General's Office demanded that Roskomnadzor restrict access to this social network,” Roskomnadzor posted on its Telegram account. “Roskomnadzor decided to complete the procedure for imposing restrictions on access to Instagram at 00:00 on March 14, providing users with an additional 48 hours of transition period.”
Facebook didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. A company spokesperson said Thursday that it had changed its rules around violent speech in order to allow for more “forms of political expression.”
Responding to reports that the Russian government is considering designating Meta as an extremist organization for its policies in support of speech: pic.twitter.com/Y8sUbZDSML
— Nick Clegg (@nickclegg) March 11, 2022
In a statement, Meta's President of Global Affairs Nick Clegg didn't address the impending ban of Instagram, but did address the recent rule change, calling it "a temporary decision taken in extraordinary and unprecedented circumstances."
"The fact is, if we applied our standard content policies without any adjustments we would now be removing content from ordinary Ukrainians expressing their resistance and fury at the invading military forces, which would rightly be viewed as unacceptable," Clegg wrote. "There is no change at all in our policies on hate speech as far as the Russian people are concerned."
Update 3/11 6:50pm ET: Instagram's top executive, Adam Mosseri, also weighed in on the ban, calling it "wrong" to cut off 80 million users in the country.
On Monday, Instagram will be blocked in Russia. This decision will cut 80 million in Russia off from one another, and from the rest of the world as ~80% of people in Russia follow an Instagram account outside their country. This is wrong.
— Adam Mosseri (@mosseri) March 11, 2022