Russia bans Facebook and Instagram after declaring Meta 'extremist'

Facebook's parent Meta enraged the Kremlin after suspending access to Russian state media outlets.

A Russian court banned Facebook and Instagram after declaring Meta Platforms Inc' extremist organization' Russia's news agency TASS reported.

However, the court had no issue with the WhatsApp messenger service, the second most popular messaging tool in Russia after Telegram.

Reuters reports that Moscow's Tverskoi District Court upheld a lawsuit filed by Russian state prosecutors on banning the activities of Meta on Russian territory.

In recent months, Russia has been issuing the term' extremist organization' rather freely, labeling Jehovah's Witnesses and jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation with the term.

Last week Russia banned Facebook and Instagram in the country for Meta allegedly allowing calls for violence against Russians.

However, the decision might have also been influenced by Facebook restricting access to Russian state media outlets over falsehoods regarding the war in Ukraine.

Russian invasion

Russian forces invaded Ukraine on February 24, kicking off a war all over the country.

In light of the attack, the hacker community started rallying to help Ukrainians. With Anonymous being the most prominent one, numerous hacker groups and researchers partake in various campaigns to help Ukraine.

Cyber activists targeted Russian government websites Russian state-controlled media outlets TASS, Kommersant, Izvestia, Fontanka, and RBC, pushing them offline. Russian carrier Aeroflot and major lender Sberbank were also experiencing outages and access issues.

Russian nuclear agency Rosatom and the country's space agency Roscosmos were allegedly breached by hacktivists protesting the war in Ukraine. The German branch of the Anonymous collective also claims to have stolen 20 terabytes of data from the German arm of Rosneft, Russia's state energy company.

Ukrainian authorities reported that 10 million people were displaced due to the conflict, with over 3.3 million fleeing the country.