Meta’s Instagram Blocked in Russia by the Government with Claims That it was Being Used to Call for Violence on Russians

Instagram is now on the list of online resources with "restricted access" published by Russia's media regulator Roskomnadzor.

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Meta owned photos and videos sharing app, Instagram is no longer accessible in Russia, as per the AFP news agency. Many users saw this coming as Meta had allowed posting of call for Russian President Vladamir Putin’s death on its platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.

Instagram was not working without a VPN connection, said an AFP journalist on Monday. As per the report, Instagram is now on the list of online resources with “restricted access” published by Russia’s media regulator Roskomnadzor.

Also read: Apple Stops Product Sales in Russia, Limits Apple Pay

Russia Notified About the Halt of Instagram Service to Russian Users

Amid the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, Russia has completely blocked Instagram in the country. The country already notified its users that Instagram will be blocked in the country from Sunday, March 13 at midnight. An email from the state regulator told users to shift their photos and videos from Instagram before it was shut down, and asked them to switch to Russia’s own “competitive internet platforms”.

“We need to ensure the psychological health of citizens, especially children and adolescents, to protect them from harassment and insults online,” Russia’s media regulator said to Reuters, explaining the decision to close down the app.

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Why Russia Blocked Instagram?

The big decision comes after Meta allowed its users to post about the call for violence against Russians and Russian soldiers in the context of the Ukraine invasion. The company even allowed its users to post about the call for Russian President Vladamir Putin’s death. The move, of course, provoked Russia and the country termed Meta as an ‘extremist organisation’.

Meta’s President of Global Affairs, Nick Clegg, however, clarified that Meta’s policies focus on “protecting people’s right to speech,” and it would not tolerate “Russophobia”. This policy only applies to Ukraine because of the ongoing rift.