Russian Internet watchdog Roskomnadzor is going to ban Instagram

Pierluigi Paganini March 12, 2022

Russian Internet watchdog Roskomnadzor is going to ban Instagram in Russia to prevent the spreading of info related to the Ukraine invasion.

Russia will ban Instagram, the decision was announced by Russian Internet watchdog Roskomnadzor.

Officially the Russian Internet watchdog Roskomnadzor explained that the decision is the response of Meta that the posting of information containing calls for violence against Russian citizens.

Meta also blocked the accounts of Russian media outlets and news agencies supporting Moscow’s disinformation, including RIA Novosti, Sputnik, and Russia Today.

“As you know, on March 11, Meta Platforms Inc. made an unprecedented decision by allowing the posting of information containing calls for violence against Russian citizens on its social networks Facebook and Instagram.” reads the Roskomnadzor’s announcement. Messages are circulating on the Instagram social network encouraging and provoking violent acts against Russians, in connection with which the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office demanded that Roskomnadzor restrict access to this social network.

Since it will take time for active Instagram users to transfer their photo and video materials to other social networks and notify their contacts and subscribers, Roskomnadzor decided to complete the procedure for imposing restrictions on access to Instagram at 00:00 on March 14, providing users with an additional 48 hours of transition period.”

Probably the truth is different, the Russian government fears that the spreading of news related to its cruel invasion of Ukraine could destabilize internal contest. Last week Roskomnadzor blocked the Facebook and Twitter social networks.

Meta this week announced a change of its policy to allow “call for violence against Russians and Russian soldiers in the context of the Ukraine invasion,” reported the Reuters agency who has access to internal emails.

“We have no quarrel with the Russian people. There is no change at all in our policies on hate speech as far as the Russian people are concerned,” explained Meta’s President for Global Affairs, Nick Clegg. “This is a temporary decision taken in extraordinary and unprecedented circumstances. We will be keeping the situation under review in the period ahead.”

The ban will be effective on March 14 to give time to Russian Instagram users to transfer their media to other social networks.

This week Anonymous announced to have hacked the Russian Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media, also known as Roskomnadzor. The agency is responsible for monitoring, controlling and censoring Russian mass media and according to Anonymous, it is controlling the disinformation campaign about the ongoing invasion of Ukraine. The hacktivists have stolen sensitive data from the organization and released 820 GB of data detailing the ongoing activity of the agency.

The leaked documents are arranged in two major categories, one containing more than 360,000 files that date up to March 5 (536.9 GB) and another containing two databases containing HR procedures (290.6 GB).

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, Russia)

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