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Russian citizens are blocked from using Instagram

Starting at midnight Sunday, Russians will no longer have access to Instagram, in the country’s latest attempt to battle foreign social media platforms

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This photo shows the Instagram app icon.

This photo shows the Instagram app icon on the screen of a mobile device in New York. Russia announced a ban on Instagram amid invasion into Ukraine.

Jenny Kane, Associated Press

Russia said it would limit access to Instagram, the country’s latest attempt in targeting foreign tech platforms, such as banning Facebook and Twitter, since the invasion of Ukraine.

The service was said to be ceased starting at midnight on Sunday, after Instagram’s parent company Meta said it would allow social media users in Ukraine to post messages like “Death to Russian invaders,” even though it violated the company’s violence and hate speech rules, a temporary decision during extraordinary circumstances.

What they’re saying: State communications regulator Roskomnadzor told people to move their photos and videos from Instagram before the platform was shut down. People were also encouraged to switch to Russia’s own “competitive internet platforms,” per Reuters.

  • “The Instagram social network distributes informational materials containing calls to commit violent acts against citizens of the Russian Federation, including military personnel,” said Roskomnadzor

Instagram head Adam Mosseri took to Twitter to react to the news.

  • “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,” he said. “This is wrong.”

State of play: This news comes as Russia makes an effort to prevent its citizens from accessing anything but state media. The country even passed a new law criminalizing independent reporting on the Russian military, with a penalty of up to 15 years in prison for spreading “false” information, according to Tech Crunch.

Flashback: On Friday, Meta said it has taken a temporary decision during unprecedented times to allow violent speech by Ukrainians.

  • “As a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine we have temporarily made allowances for forms of political expression that would normally violate our rules like violent speech such as ‘death to the Russian invaders,’” a Meta spokesperson said.
  • “We still won’t allow credible calls for violence against Russian civilians.”