Moscow’s Basmanny District Court ordered the arrest of Meta Platforms spokesperson Andy Stone in absentia Monday for charges relating to terrorism offenses and inciting extremist activities.
The court issued a statement saying that Stone had been charged under various sections of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, and the alleged crimes include the promotion of terrorist activities, public calls to carry out terrorist activities, public justification of terrorism, or propaganda of terrorism and public calls to carry out extremist activities. The court also announced that Stone has also been placed on international and domestic wanted lists.
The Russian Investigative Committee named Stone in March 2022 when it announced that it was opening an investigation in connection with the illegal actions of Meta employees. In that announcement, it asserted that Stone declared that Meta had temporarily lifted the ban on advocating violence against the Russian military on its platforms, labeling it as a form of political expression. At the time, it said that this contravened the Criminal Code and was a public call for extremist activities and assistance in terrorist activities.
Neither Stone nor Meta have commented on the announcement, but tensions between the tech giant and the Russian Federation have been rising since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022. In March of that year, a Russian court ruled that Meta was guilty of extremist activity, and it was banned in the country, meaning that the social media platforms Facebook and Instagram were prohibited and not accessible to the populace. In October of that year, the Service for Financial Monitoring added Meta to its list of terrorist and extremist organizations.