Instagram users in Russia have been notified that the service will be suspended from midnight on Sunday after the owner of Meta Platforms said last week that social media users in Ukraine would be allowed to send messages such as “The death to the Russian invaders”.
An email message from the government’s communications regulator told users to move their photos and videos from Instagram before it shuts down, urging them to switch to “competing platforms.” ” and Russia.
Meta, which also owns Facebook (FB), said on Friday that the temporary change in its hate speech policy applied only to Ukraine, after the Russian attack on February 24.
The company said it was wrong to prevent Ukrainians from “expressing their anger and resentment against the invading military forces”.
The decision was greeted in Russia, where authorities opened a criminal case against Meta and prosecutors on Friday asked the court to designate the American technology giant as a “terrorist organization”.
The head of Instagram has said that the block will affect 80 million users. Russia has blocked Facebook in the country in response to what it says is blocking access to Russian media on the platform.
A message to Instagram users from the state media regulator, Roskomnadzor, called the decision to post calls for violence against Russians a violation of international law.
“We must ensure the mental health of people, especially children and young people, to protect them from harassment and bullying online,” the statement said, explaining the decision to close on the platform.