Russian Instagram users warned just hours before Kremlin shut down platform at midnight
Russia’s state communications regulator, Roskomnadzor, warned Instagram users about the government’s initial plans to remove the popular social media app at midnight on Sunday, according to Reuters.
Roskomnadzor announced in an emailed statement on Friday that Instagram will be prohibited to use in the country, giving its users two days to clear all of their photos and data from the app.
Roskomnadzor also encouraged residents to use the country’s own “competitive internet platforms” as an alternative to the Instagram ban, Reuters reported.
The Russian regulator also said its decision to ban Instagram was in response to a decision made by its parent company, Meta Co., to allow Ukrainian users to post calls for violence against Russians on their Facebook and Instagram.
According to The Washington Post, Meta expanded its policy against inciting violence, as long as users’ posts represented political expression against Russian forces invading Ukraine, adding that violence toward ordinary Russian citizens would still be prohibited.
Roskomnadzor noted that the Instagram ban will affect 80 million users. The state communication regulator had already banned Facebook usage as well, CNN reported.
Since beginning its invasion of Ukraine last month, Russia’s government has reportedly ended broadcasting for Russia’s opposition-oriented radio and television networks in an effort to control the narrative of the ongoing conflict, The Post reported
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has also led to a series of international sanctions being leveled against Moscow. U.S. companies in a variety of sectors have also moved to end business with Russia.
Popular Russian Instagram users expressed their displeasure of their government prohibiting the use of the social media app in the country, The Post noted.
“You’ll soon meet my alter-ego,” Russian social media influencer Oksana Samoylova wrote in a Telegram post. “Not really my alter-ego, actually, you’ll just get to know me much closer, because there I can be much, much more open.”
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