Russia has ironically been accused of online censorship after they moved to ban Instagram and WhatsApp. The move comes on the heels of Facebook permitting violent rhetoric against the Russian Federation. This type of thing is normally not allowed per Facebook’s terms of service. The social media giant announced that they would give a “pass” to people for the aforementioned type of behavior. At least for the current point in time. Russia had already blocked Facebook back in late February of this year. Facebook’s most recent move prompted Russia to ban other Facebook (META) properties which include Instagram and WhatsApp.
To back up a little bit here, Russia has been the focus of a widespread corporate boycott. American businesses that range from McDonald’s to VISA bank card services to Amazon Web Hosting have all pulled their business out of the Russian Federation. Russian citizens found out that their bank cards don’t even work in ATMs outside of the country. Long lines of people piled up at Russian metro stations due to Apple and Google Pay ceasing function which prevented them from quickly paying train fares. Not to mention the economic sanctions imposed by the Biden administration. All of this is a result of the Russian conflict with Ukraine. Saudi Arabia faces no such sanctions over their conflict with Yemen but that’s another story for another day.
Russia has not withheld its chief resource from the world which is its oil and natural gas. Although NATO is essentially using Ukraine as a proxy war battleground, Europe still depends on Russia for 35% of their natural gas needs. Russia hasn’t done much to retaliate against corporate warfare coming from the West. Their primary objective is the land battle in Ukraine. However, the announcement Facebook gave that they will allow users to amplify threats against Russia was cause for concern. Russia decided to go ahead and block Instagram and WhatsApp which are properties of the already blocked Facebook.
News sites all over the internet and the mainstream media alike began to criticize Russia for banning the Facebook-owned platforms. The primary complaint is that Vladimir Putin and the Russian Government were denying their citizens the ability to interface with the outside world and get real news. As if the corporate boycott from Western companies against Russian citizens wouldn’t do the very same thing Putin is accused of. Big Tech platforms routinely censor their own users in the West for the most simple and basic things like gender identity or more serious things like “the” virus. For anything affiliated with big tech to decry censorship is ridiculous and outrageous at best.
U.S. corporations continue to leave Russia following Putin’s invasion of Ukraine – YouTube
TikTok suspends new posts in Russia due to the country’s recent ‘fake news’ law – The Washington Post
Netflix, China-based TikTok join Google, Apple, other companies cutting ties with Russia | Fortune
Russia blocks Instagram as part of its online censorship spree – Vox
Russia will ban Instagram on March 14th – The Verge
Dorsey says blocking Post’s Hunter Biden story was ‘total mistake’
Facebook allows war posts urging violence against Russian invaders | Reuters
Apple Pay, Google Pay Stop Working on Moscow’s Metro System | iPhone in Canada Blog
Google suspends all ad sales in Russia as censorship demands grow | Reuters
Russian blogger cries as Instagram is blocked by Vladimir Putin – LBC