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Russia’s finance watchdog lists Meta as a “extremist”

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Russia’s finance watchdog lists Meta as a “extremist”: The American IT company Meta Platforms Inc. has placed on Rosfinmonitoring’s list of “terrorists and extremists,” according to Russian news outlets on Tuesday.

After being convicted guilty of “extremist conduct” in Russia in March, Meta, the company that owns Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, had its appeal denied by a Moscow court in June. At the time, Meta’s attorney testified in court that Meta was not engaging in extremist activities and opposed racism.

Tuesday’s email request for comment from Meta received no response.

The list maintained by Rosfinmonitoring includes “organizations and people with respect to whom there is evidence of their involvement in terrorist or extremist activity.”

Facebook and Instagram are no longer accessible from Moscow. However, many Russians still use virtual private networks (VPNs), the demand for which increased in March when specific Western internet sites banned.

According to the TASS news agency, the government’s communications watchdog Roskomnadzor has revised its prohibited VPN list. Though many VPNs continue functioning, the government began attempting to ban them in 2021.

Officials have often said that the ” extremist ” label does not apply to Meta’s WhatsApp messaging service.

Senior legislator Andrey Klishas said on Telegram on Tuesday that the inclusion of Meta on Rosfinmonitoring’s list of extremist organizations “in no way affects the situation for users of Meta’s social networks. Furthermore, consumers of Meta goods are not breaching the law.”

There are no limitations when it comes to WhatsApp Messenger, he said.

However, users of Facebook and Instagram have reportedly received warnings over specific postings, according to lawyers and digital rights organizations.

Pavel Chikov, a human rights attorney, has cautioned that displaying Instagram and Facebook logos or engaging in advertising on such platforms can consider unlawful under Russian law.

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