Russian court bans Facebook and Instagram under ‘extremism’ law

A Russian court took further action against Meta’s Facebook and Instagram on Monday under the country’s “extremism” law, banning the companies from doing business in Russia but allowing Russian users to continue using WhatsApp.

The Russian state-owned media outlet TASS reported the court-ordered ban based on a decision from Russian Judge Olga Solopova of the Tverskoy Court of Moscow, which it said went into effect immediately. The court determined that individual Russians will not be held responsible for “extremism” by continuing to use Facebook and Instagram, TASS reported.

The order follows Russia’s announcement March 4 that it would block access to Facebook and Twitter after Meta banned several state media accounts.

Meta will now be prohibited from opening branches in Russia and from doing business in Russia, TASS said. The Russian prosecutor general’s office cited calls for violence against Russian citizens on Meta-owned platforms as a reason for the ban.