Moscow: Russia has included the spokesperson of American technology company Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, in the wanted list, according to an online database maintained by the country’s Interior Ministry. Meta is the owner of Facebook and Instagram, two of the most popular social media platforms in the world.
The spokesperson, Andy Stone, is wanted on criminal charges of promoting terrorism, according to the database. The case is related to Meta’s policy change after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, which sparked a global crisis and a wave of protests.
Stone announced a temporary change to Meta’s hate speech policy to allow forms of political expression that typically violate its rules, such as “death to the invaders” by Ukrainians. In the same statement, Stone said credible calls for violence against Russian civilians would remain banned.
Russia’s Federal Investigative Committee launched a criminal investigation into Meta in March 2022, alleging that the company’s actions were tantamount to inciting violence against Russians. The investigation claimed that Meta’s platforms were used to spread extremist and terrorist propaganda, to recruit and train militants, and to coordinate attacks on Russian targets.
The arrest warrant for Stone was issued earlier this month
According to MediaZona, an independent news website covering Russia’s protests and prison system, Stone was placed on a wanted list in February 2022. But officials made no related statement at the time and no news media reported on the matter until this week.
It was reported on Sunday that a Russian court had issued an arrest warrant for Stone earlier this month on charges of promoting terrorism. The report did not disclose the source of the information, which could not be independently verified.
Stone is not the only Meta executive who is facing legal trouble in Russia. The country has also formally banned Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg from entering the country, accusing him of supporting terrorism and violating Russian laws. Meta has not commented on the situation yet.