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Instagram Users in Russia Are Told Service Will Cease

Russian flag and Instagram logo are seen through broken glass in this illustration taken March 11, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration
Russian flag and Instagram logo are seen through broken glass in this illustration taken March 11, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

Instagram users in Russia have been notified that the service will cease from midnight on Sunday after its owner Meta Platforms (FB.O) 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 people 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 on 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 decision was greeted with outrage in Russia, where authorities have opened a criminal investigation against Meta and prosecutors on Friday asked a court to designate the U.S. tech giant as an “extremist organisation”.

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