Russia lists Meta as a 'terrorist and extremist' organisation

Russia lists Meta as a 'terrorist and extremist' organisation
Credit: Belga

Russia has officially designated the US giant Meta, parent company of Facebook and Instagram, as a "terrorist and extremist" organisation, paving the way for enhanced legal proceedings against its users in the country.

Meta has been classified among the "terrorist and extremist" organisations on the website of the Russian financial monitoring service, a government body, French news agency AFP noted on Tuesday.

In March, Meta was declared an "extremist" organisation by a Russian court, and its two flagship social networks, Instagram and Facebook, were blocked in Russia.

Since the Russian offensive in Ukraine, the Kremlin has been intensifying its repression of critics of the conflict, with thousands of fines and dozens of criminal cases punishable by heavy prison sentences. In this sense, the official recognition of Meta as a "terrorist and extremist" organisation facilitates the prosecution of its users in Russia.

On the Telegram messaging system, still authorised in the country, the renowned lawyer Pavel Tchikov indicated on Tuesday that prosecution could be initiated in several cases: if a person publicly mentions Meta without indicating its status as a prohibited organisation, or if it shows the logo of the company and its subsidiaries.

In addition, according to Mr. Tchikov, Russian companies that use Meta's social networks to distribute advertisements, or work with these applications, could also be accused of participating in an "extremist" organisation.

Prior to its ban, millions of Russians used Meta's apps, especially Instagram, a network that remains popular with young people in the country despite being blocked.

Meta also owns WhatsApp messaging, which is also very popular in Russia. In March, the Russian court had, however, not ordered the blocking of this application, having considered that it was not used as a means of "public dissemination of information."

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