Slashdot reader quonset shares this report from Reuters:
Instagram users in Russia have been notified that the service will cease as of midnight on Sunday after its owner Meta Platforms said last week it would allow social media users in Ukraine to post messages such as “Death to the Russian invaders”. An email message from the state communications regulator told users to move their photos and videos from Instagram before it was shut down, and encouraged them to switch to Russia’s own “competitive internet platforms”.
Meta, which also owns Facebook, said Friday that the temporary change in its hate speech policy applied only to Ukraine, in the wake of Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion. The company said it would be wrong to prevent Ukrainians from “expressing their resistance and fury at the invading military forces”….
The message to Instagram users from the state media regulator, Roskomnadzor, described the decision to allow calls for violence against Russians as a breach of international law. “We need to ensure the psychological health of citizens, especially children and adolescents, to protect them from harassment and insults online,” it said, explaining the decision to close down the platform.
“The tears were flowing Sunday among Russia’s airbrushed Instagram influencers, who begged their followers in farewell posts to join them on alternative social media platforms…” reports the Washington Post:
On the platform, emotions ran high Sunday among Russians who were about to lose thousands of dollars they received to promote various products, as well as access to millions of followers amassed over the years. “I’m writing this post now and crying,” Olga Buzova, a Russian reality television star, wrote, saying she hoped “it’s all not true and we will remain here….”
The ban on Instagram is the latest example of how Russia’s citizens are being isolated from the rest of the world as a result of Moscow’s war against Ukraine. Since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched the invasion on Feb. 24, his government has also pulled the plug on Russia’s opposition-oriented radio and television networks, part of a broader effort to squelch domestic dissent in response to the war. Thousands of Russians have been arrested for attempting to protest the invasion…. But perhaps no move is more isolating than removing Russians from social media platforms that connect them directly to other users around the world. Instagram counted nearly 60 million users in Russia in 2021, according to the market data firm Statista, about 40 percent of the country’s population. The platform is also a huge revenue source for its users, who rake in cash from sponsors by posting promotional content.
“We know that over 80 percent of people in Russia on Instagram follow an account from outside of Russia,” Instagram head Adam Mosseri said in a video, according to the Post’s article.
It adds that “It is unclear how many Russians will continue to be able to access Instagram using Virtual Private Networks, or VPNs.”
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