Russia adds Meta to the list of "Terrorist and Extremist" groups.

Russia adds Meta to the list of "Terrorist and Extremist" groups.

Tech Bytes

The Russian government has released a list of "terrorist and extremist" groups, including Facebook's Meta, a relatively small Russian social media community. The site wasn't even on the list when it was founded in 2011, but now it is.


The new list, released by the Russian government, covers various groups, from far-right to far-left.

It includes groups known to carry out acts of violence and terrorism (including Islamic State), as well as those who reject violence in principle but engage in actions such as BDS (boycotting Israeli products) or antifascist organizing.

The list also includes many small organizations that have little impact on society but could still be dangerous if they gained traction among some segments of Russian society. One example is the group “Russian Muslims for Allah,”—which was recently banned from operating through its website and social media accounts after posting videos promoting extremism online; another is an organization called "The Union Against Extremism," which has been criticized by journalists for publishing anti-Semitic articles on its website while being funded by state funds allocated specifically for combating extremism; yet another example would be any organization whose members openly identify themselves as nationalists despite their stated goals not being nationalist ones.

It's unclear how this will impact Meta or other online communities in Russia.

The Russian government's decision to label Facebook as "terrorist and extremist" is just the latest in a series of moves targeting social media platforms. In May 2018, Russia passed laws requiring websites hosting "extremist" content to be blocked within 24 hours; these sites were later expanded to include YouTube, Telegram, and Instagram.

Meta—a social network for people who love to discuss politics—has been used by activists since 2012; however, there are still questions about how this will impact other online communities in Russia or elsewhere worldwide.

The site's moderators say they are working with Facebook to resolve the issue and hope the government will remove the group from its list.

You may have heard that the Russian government wants to ban Facebook. It's true, but don't get too excited about it. The site's moderators say they are working with Facebook to resolve the issue and hope the government will remove the group from its list.

The problem is this: Russia doesn't agree with how many people use social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter in general; instead of trying to understand why this is happening (and maybe even trying to curb some of those issues), they're calling for blanket bans on what they see as extremist content—which includes pretty much everything except pro-Kremlin propaganda sites like RT News or Sputnik News (and even those two sites aren't particularly pro-Putin).

Facebook can appeal the decision by arguing that it was not a terrorist or extremist group and that its users were not responsible for any crimes committed by the group. However, if this does not work (or if it takes too long), Facebook could try to remove the group from the list altogether or add it back into its "acceptable" groups category where it wouldn't have any issues with being listed again.

Conclusion

As we've seen with other bans on Facebook groups in Russia, the government's actions are often taken with little warning and no explanation. This case will be no different.

The ban on Meta started a few weeks ago after an anonymous reader submitted a request to remove it from the site's "terrorist" list. Facebook complied but then asked for some additional information from us before making any changes—a process that took over a month.

The site's moderators have been in touch with our lawyers about their options moving forward but don't know how much time they'll have left if they want to continue operating on Russian soil without being targeted by authorities again."


Heena Vinayak

An entrepreneur at heart, I love to write about startups & tech businesses.