A Moscow court on February 12th ordered the arrest in absentia of Andy Stone, a spokesperson for Meta Platforms, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram. Stone faces charges of promoting and justifying terrorism, as well as inciting extremist activity.
The ruling stems from an investigation launched by Russia’s interior ministry late last year, following Meta’s decision to restrict content moderation efforts related to the Ukraine conflict. This led to both Facebook and Instagram being banned in Russia, and Meta being labeled an “extremist organization.”
Specifically, Stone is accused of promoting violence against the Russian military by lifting restrictions on certain content. He has denied the charges and Meta, as of yet, has not commented.
The court authorized detaining Stone for two months while the investigation continues. They also placed him on international and national wanted lists, meaning he faces potential arrest if he travels to certain countries.
This case highlights the ongoing tensions between Russia and Meta, fueled by differing approaches to information control and content moderation during the Ukraine conflict.