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Russia Bans Instagram as Meta Relaxes Rules, YouTube Blocks Russian State Media Channels

Russia on Friday, March 11, banned access to Instagram after media reports that its parent company Meta said it would allow calls for violence against Russians and Russian soldiers in the context of Moscow’s war on Ukraine.

The request to ban Instagram came from the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation, Roskomnadzor, the federal media regulator, said in a statement.

Prosecutors had demanded to recognize Meta as an “extremist organization” and ban its activities in Russia.

The country’s Investigative Committee also launched a probe after “illegal calls by employees of the American company Meta for violence against and murder of Russian nationals.”

Meta also owns Facebook, which the Russian government blocked access to last week, in response to restrictions the social network imposed on several Russian media outlets.

Hundreds of brands have exited the Russian market since the war began on Feb. 24. Besides the casualties, the conflict has created a refugee crisis in Europe with more than 2.5 million people fleeing Ukraine.

YouTube blocks Russian state media channels worldwide

YouTube said Friday it is blocking channels affiliated with Russia-backed media outlets worldwide.

It began blocking RT and Sputnik’s YouTube channels across Europe last week.

“We are now removing content about Russia’s invasion in Ukraine that violates this policy,” it said on Twitter, adding “community Guidelines prohibit content denying, minimizing or trivializing well-documented violent events.”

The updated policy will be effective immediately but YouTube’s systems will take time to fully block channels.

YouTube has also removed more than 1,000 channels and over 15,000 videos for violating various policies, such as those on hate speech, misinformation and graphic content amid Russia’s war on Ukraine.

“In addition, we recently paused all YouTube ads in Russia. We’ve now extended this to all of the ways to monetize on our platform in Russia,” it said.

Source: AA

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