A Moscow court has banned Instagram and Facebook in Russia. Previously, parent company Meta was classified as an “extremist” organization. The action appears to be part of Russia’s efforts to cut off the flow of information on the Ukraine war at home.

A Russian court has imposed a nationwide ban on social networks Instagram and Facebook. Parent company Meta was also classified as an “extremist” organization. The court thus granted a corresponding request by the Moscow prosecutor’s office.

Previously, the Russian domestic intelligence service FSB had already applied for a court ban on the US group. The action appears to be part of Russia’s efforts to stop the flow of information on the Ukraine war in Russia.

Since the beginning of March, a new Russian media law has made statements on the war in Ukraine that deviate from official Russian accounts a punishable offense. Russia itself also officially downplays the war as a “special operation”.

Ukraine war: Russian court bans Instagram and Facebook

In response to the Ukraine war, Instagram and Facebook imposed a ban on advertising on their platforms in Russia back in early March. Subsequently, the Kremlin partially restricted the two networks.

After Meta declared shortly thereafter that it would temporarily allow calls for violence against Russian military officers and politicians, the Russian authorities cut off access altogether.

Although the U.S. company subsequently explained that this special rule only applied to people in Ukraine and did not tolerate calls for violence against Russian citizens, the Moscow court now classifies Meta as “extremist” on this basis.

WhatsApp apparently not affected

Meta had previously still tried to avert the ban. However, the Moscow court rejected a request for a stay of proceedings. As the news agency Reuters reports, the ban does not apply to the messenger service WhatsApp, which also belongs to Meta.

However, the further consequences of Meta’s classification as an “extremist” organization are unclear. The U.S. company has not yet commented on the ruling.

After Twitter, the Kremlin has now blocked all major social networks, including Facebook and Instagram. TikTok was also forced to voluntarily restrict its service due to the Russian media law in order to protect its users.