On Sunday, Russia added Andy Stone, a spokesperson for Meta Platforms, to a wanted list on unspecified charges, given that the U.S. social media giant, the owner of Facebook, is labeled \”extremist\” by Moscow. Russia has significantly curtailed media and social media freedom since the initiation of its Ukraine offensive last year, coupled with the prohibition of criticism against it.
Stone\’s name is featured on Russia\’s interior ministry\’s wanted individuals list, yet without additional details provided. In October 2022, Russia categorized Meta as a \”terrorist and extremist\” organization, potentially leading to criminal investigations and fines for users within the country.
Following the onset of the Ukraine offensive, Russia has blocked Facebook and Instagram, and access is now limited to VPN usage. X (formerly Twitter) is also prohibited, along with independent Russian media critical of the Kremlin. Prior to these bans, Meta\’s applications, especially Instagram, were extensively utilized by millions of Russians, particularly among the younger demographic.
In April 2022, Russia placed Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg on a blacklist, preventing him from entering the country.