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Russia widens social media ban amid invasion of Ukraine by blocking Instagram

Posted at 11:29 AM, Mar 11, 2022

Russian regulators said internet users would be blocked from accessing Instagram because it's being used to call for violence against Russian soldiers.

Roskomnadzor, Russia's federal communications agency, said Friday it's tightening access to Instagram because the platform is spreading "calls to commit violent acts against Russian citizens, including military personnel."

The agency specifically cited a post Thursday by a Meta spokesperson, referring to a statement that Meta had "made allowances for forms of political expression" that would normally violate rules on violent speech.

Meta Platforms, which owns Instagram, didn't respond to a request for comment.

It's Moscow's latest move to restrict the reach of foreign social platforms. Axios reports that Russia is also restricting access to Twitter, Telegram TikTok and Instagram's sister platform, Facebook.

Russia has also attempted to cut down on dissent by threatening to jail people who spread "fake news" about military action in Ukraine for 15 years. The country says it will use the new regulations to punish those who refer to their efforts in Ukraine as a "war" or "invasion."