Instagram is now totally blocked in Russia. The country's media regulator, Roskomnadzor, issued an official ban on the app on Friday but granted Russians a 48-hour grace period before it was implemented. GlobalCheck (via Bloomberg), a program that investigates internet restrictions in Russia, confirmed the block, which went into effect at midnight on Monday.
"This is wrong" stated Instagram's CEO, Adam Mosseri.
After a temporary adjustment to its hate speech policy that allowed users to express calls for violence against the Russian troops entering Ukraine, Russian authorities asked a court to name Meta, Instagram's parent company, an "extremist organization."
According to Roskomnadzor, Instagram was banned in Russia because the "social network [distributed] informational materials containing invitations to conduct violent crimes against Russian Federation residents, including military personnel."
On Friday, Meta's president of worldwide affairs, Nick Clegg, sent out a message on Twitter. "To be clear, this strategy will only be implemented in Ukraine," he added. "We have no beef with the Russian people, and our policies on hate speech have not changed in any way for the Russian people."
Clegg stated that it would be incorrect to prevent Ukrainians from "expressing their resistance and fury at the invading military forces," and that Meta's policies were "focused on protecting people's rights to speech as an expression of self-defense in response to a military invasion of their country." He also stated that the policy shift was "temporary," and that it was made in "exceptional and unusual circumstances."
"This decision will cut 80 million in Russia off from one another, and the rest of the world, as 80% of people in Russia follow an Instagram account outside their country. This is terrible," Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri wrote on Twitter ahead of the ban.
Instagram has now joined Meta's Facebook in being blocked in Russia. It's unknown what will happen to the company's other subsidiary, Whatsapp. In addition, Twitter has been blocked in the country. In Russia, TikTok is still available, but Russians are unable to publish videos.
According to the Washington Post, Russian Instagram influencers and producers were outraged by the announcement, with many claiming that they would lose their principal source of cash and method of communication with their followers. Many people have asked their followers to switch to Telegram or other similar applications.