Russia widens social media crackdown by blocking Instagram

Mar 11, 2022, 9:57 AM | Updated: Mar 14, 2022, 12:59 pm

(AP) — Russian regulators said Friday that the country’s internet users will be blocked from accessing Instagram, saying it’s being used to call for violence against Russian soldiers.

In Moscow’s latest move to restrict access to foreign social media platforms, communications and media regulator Roskomnadzor said in a statement that it’s restricting national access to Instagram. It said the platform is spreading “calls to commit violent acts against Russian citizens, including military personnel.”

Roskomnadzor cited a Thursday tweet by Meta spokesman Andy Stone conveying a company statement saying it had “made allowances for forms of political expression that would normally violate our rules on violent speech, such as ‘death to the Russian invaders’.”

Stone’s statement followed a Reuters report that Meta was making a temporary change to its hate speech policy to allow Facebook and Instagram users in some countries to call for violence against Russians and Russian soldiers in the context of the Ukraine invasion.

The statement stressed that the company “still won’t allow credible calls for violence against Russian civilians.”

Facebook parent Meta Platforms, which also owns Instagram, on Friday defended what it described as a temporary decision “taken in extraordinary and unprecedented circumstances.”

“I want to be crystal clear: Our policies are focused on protecting people’s rights to speech as an expression of self-defense in reaction to a military invasion of their country,” said a statement Friday from Nick Clegg, Meta’s president of global affairs.

“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 added.

He noted that the policy only applies in Ukraine and the company hasn’t changed its policies against hate speech targeting Russian people.

Russia has already blocked access to Facebook, limited access to Twitter and criminalized the intentional spreading of what Moscow deems to be “fake” reports, as part of President Vladimir Putin’s crackdown on social media and news outlets like the BBC.

Big tech companies, meanwhile, have moved to restrict Russian state media from using their platforms to spread propaganda and misinformation.

YouTube said Friday it’s blocking access globally to channels associated with Russian state-funded media. It previously blocked them — specifically RT and Sputnik — across Europe.

YouTube, which is owned by Google, announced the move in a Twitter post, saying that while the change is effective immediately, it would take time for systems to ramp up. It said it’s also removing content about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that “minimizes or trivializes well-documented violent events.”

The Kremlin refers to the invasion as a “special military operation” and not a war. YouTube previously paused YouTube ads in Russia. Now, it’s extending that to all the ways it makes money on the platform in Russia.

Meta has also barred Russian state media from Instagram and Facebook.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - The recently closed Savannah Medical Clinic, which provided abortions for four decades in Sa...
Associated Press

At least 66 US clinics have halted abortions, institute says

At least 66 clinics in 15 states have stopped providing abortions since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, according to an analysis released Thursday. The number of clinics providing abortions in the 15 states dropped from 79 before the June 24 decision to 13 as of Oct. 2, according to the Guttmacher Institute, […]
21 hours ago
Associated Press

Today in History: October 6, the launch of Instagram

Today in History Today is Thursday, Oct. 6, the 279th day of 2022. There are 86 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On Oct. 6, 1973, war erupted in the Middle East as Egypt and Syria launched a surprise attack on Israel during the Yom Kippur holiday. (Israel, initially caught off guard, […]
21 hours ago
The ski slopes are almost devoid of snow at the Tūroa ski field, on Mt. Ruapehu, New Zealand on Se...
Associated Press

Missing snow puts famed New Zealand ski areas on precipice

TUROA SKI AREA, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand’s Turoa ski area is usually a white wonderland at this time of year, its deep snowpack supporting its famed spring skiing. This season, it’s largely a barren moonscape, with tiny patches of snow poking out between vast fields of jagged volcanic boulders. The ski area was […]
21 hours ago
Associated Press

Former Uber security chief guilty of data breach coverup

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The former chief security officer for Uber was convicted Wednesday of trying to cover up a 2016 data breach in which hackers accessed tens of millions of customer records from the ride-hailing service. A federal jury in San Francisco convicted Joseph Sullivan of obstructing justice and concealing knowledge that a federal […]
21 hours ago
FILE - Herschel Walker, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate for Georgia, speaks at a primary watch...
Associated Press

Report: Mom of Walker’s child says he paid for her abortion

ATLANTA (AP) — A woman who said Herschel Walker paid for her 2009 abortion is the mother of one of his children, according to a new report Wednesday, undercutting the Georgia Republican Senate candidate’s claims that he didn’t know who she was. The Daily Beast, which first reported Monday on the abortion, said it had […]
21 hours ago
A protester is hit by Los Angeles Rams defensive end Takkarist McKinley, middle left, and linebacke...
Associated Press

Protester subdued by Rams’ Wagner files police report

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) — A protester who ran onto the field during the San Francisco 49ers’ Monday night home game against the Rams has filed a police report after being subdued by Los Angeles linebacker Bobby Wagner. Santa Clara Police Department Lt. Cuong Phan confirmed to The Associated Press on Wednesday that the department […]
21 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Sanderson Ford

Don’t let rising fuel prices stop you from traveling Arizona this summer

There's no better time to get out on the open road and see what the beautiful state of Arizona has to offer. But if the cost of gas is putting a cloud over your summer vacation plans, let Sanderson Ford help with their wide-range selection of electric vehicles.
(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
Russia widens social media crackdown by blocking Instagram