Russia’s Moscow City Court Monday upheld a lower court ruling that Meta was guilty of “extremist activity” and kept the Kremlin’s ban on the social media company in place.
State news agency TASS reported that the court called the ban “lawful and justified” after Russia’s media regulator, Roskomnadzor, and Federal Security Service (FSB) intervened in support of it. Meta’s lawyers argued that the “extremist” label and the resulting ban were inappropriate as Meta did not promote extremist content and that “refusing to block access to content and labeling state-controlled media were not activities that qualified as extremist.”
The court’s ruling means that Meta platforms Facebook and Instagram will continue to be largely inaccessible within Russia.
Russia has tried to curb the influence of western tech companies and websites in recent years, especially since its invasion of Ukraine. In April a Russian court threatened both Google and Wikipedia with substantial fines after both companies failed to take down content that the government considered “extremist” in nature. It previously fined Google and Meta in December 2021 for the same reason.
Whatsapp, a popular encrypted messaging service provided by Meta, is still available in Russia.