A young girl looks at social media apps, including TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat and WhatsApp, on a smartphone. PA Photo. Picture date: Tuesday November 12, 2019. Photo credit should read: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

Russia limits access to Instagram after ‘calls for violence against Russians’

Instagram has been restricted in Russia after posts “calling for violence against Russians” were “distributed”, Russian authorities have said.

The state’s communications watchdog will restrict access to the social media app and website following the posts, according to a statement published on Friday.

A second statement published later said it will come into force from midnight on March 14 to allow time for people to “transfer their photo and video materials to other social networks and notify their contacts and subscribers”.

The Russian Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Communications (Roskomnadzor) said: “Based on the requirement of the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation, access to the Instagram social network (owned by Meta Platforms, Inc) in the Russian Federation will be limited.

Facebook was banned last week after it had previously been restricted (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

“The Instagram social network distributes informational materials containing calls to commit violent acts against citizens of the Russian Federation, including military personnel.

“According to a spokesperson for Meta Platforms Inc. Andy Stone dated 03/11/2022, the company removes the ban on its social networks for residents of a number of countries to post information containing calls for violence against Russian citizens, including military personnel.”

Meta, which owns Instagram, has been contacted for comment.

It comes a week after Facebook, also owned by Meta, was blocked for its 146 million citizens.

Roskomnadzor said the social media platform was blocked on day nine of the war due to “cases of discrimination against Russian media”.

The state had previously limited access to the site after it refused to stop fact-checking and labelling content from state-owned organisations.

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