A Russian court has labeled Meta Platforms an “extremist organization” but said that the ruling only applies to the already-outlawed Facebook and Instagram platforms, and not Meta’s messenger service WhatsApp.
As Reuters reported Monday (March 21), Moscow’s Tverskoi District Court upheld a suit filed by Russian state prosecutors aimed at banning Meta’s activities on Russian territory.
Russian authorities have been pressuring Meta’s platform services, as well as other Social Media outfits, for several months. Facebook has been slapped with numerous fines for various offences, including data privacy allegations. fines totalling around 70 million roubles have been imposed on Facebook in 2021 alone, but few of these fines had been collected highlighting the challenges Moscow faces in cracking down on foreign tech giants.
The decision is set to be enforced immediately, and is the latest in the ongoing battle between Russia and the world’s social media giants in response to President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine last month.
Other countries in Europe have taken a hard stance against Meta’s data handling and business policies in recent years. However, the court’s declaration would be the highest escalation in rhetoric so far.
Meta attorney Victoria Shagina had argued said in court Monday (March 21) that Meta was not carrying out extremist activities and was against Russophobia.
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