Russia puts Meta spokesperson on wanted list; criminal proceedings likely

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Russia has added a spokesman for US tech company Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, to its wanted list, according to an online report under the country’s interior ministry.

The Meta logo appears on a sign at the company’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., (AP).

Russian state agency Tass and independent news outlet MediaZona first reported the inclusion of Meta Communications Director Andy Stone on the list, weeks after Russian authorities designated Meta a “terrorist and extremist” organization in October, paving the way for possible criminal charges against Russia. Residents using their own forums.

An Interior Ministry database did not list charges against Stone, saying he was wanted on criminal charges. Meta did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

According to Mediazona, an independent news website that reports on the Russian protest and prison system, Stone

In March of this year, Russia’s Federal Investigative Committee opened a criminal investigation into Meta. In the year

After Russian troops moved into Ukraine, Stone announced temporary changes to Meta’s hate speech policy to allow “political expression that routinely violates[the rules]such as violent speech calling for Russian invaders to die.”

In the same statement, Stone added that “credible calls for violence against Russian civilians” would remain blocked.

Mediazone said on Sunday that an undisclosed Russian court had issued an arrest warrant for Stone earlier this month on charges of “facilitating terrorism”. The report did not identify the source of that information, which could not be independently verified.

Western social media platforms Facebook, Instagram and X — formerly known as Twitter — were popular among young Russians before the 2022 invasion of Ukraine, but have been banned in the country amid a sweeping crackdown on independent media and other critical forms. Speech. They are now only available via VPN.

In the year In April 2022, Russia officially banned Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg from entering the country.

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