On Monday, the Basmanny District Court of Moscow issued a decree on the arrest in absentia of Meta’s press secretary, Andy Stone. He is charged under three articles of the Criminal Code related to terrorism and extremism: facilitating terrorist activities, public justification of terrorism and public appeals to it. The Meta company itself, the owner of the Facebook and Instagram social networks, is recognized by the authorities as extremist in Russia.
The court decided to arrest Stone for two months. This measure will be applied to him if he is detained on the territory of Russia or extradited. Also, on February 12, Rosfinmonitoring added Stone to the list of persons involved in extremism and terrorism.
This is already the second decree on Stone’s arrest in absentia. The first was issued in November of last year, at the same time Stone was declared an international wanted person by the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia. Then he was charged with only one “terrorist” article, and the court’s decision did not enter into force, since Stone’s defense appealed to him.
- In March 2022 — shortly after the start of Russia’s full-scale military invasion of Ukraine — the Meta company announced that it was changing its moderation policy and would not block Ukrainian users’ calls for violent resistance to Russian troops, including posts calling for the “death of Russian invaders.” . Stone, as a press secretary, announced the decision.
- “We have temporarily allowed forms of political expression that would normally violate our rules, including rhetoric with cruelty, such as “death to the Russian invaders”. We will not allow calls for violence against Russian civilians,” he said. .
- At the end of March 2022, the Meta company was recognized as extremist in Russia, and its activities were banned. It is also included in the Russian list of organizations involved in extremism or terrorism maintained by Rosfinmonitoring. Social networks Facebook and Instagram were blocked shortly after the beginning of Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine. However, Russian clients continue to use these networks with the help of VPN anonymizers.