Russia has apparently added the spokesman for Meta on their list of wanted people, according to an online database curated by the nation's interior ministry.
The Associated Press reported that Russian state agency Tass and the independent news outlet Mediazona were the first to report that Andy Stone was now included on the country's wanted list. The development comes after Russian President Vladimir Putin condemned Meta as a "terrorist and extremist" organization.
Now that Meta has garnered the attention of the Russian authorities, it is possible that Russian citizens could face criminal charges if they are found to be using the platform in the future. However, no legislation concerning Meta has yet been passed by the Russian government.
Meta appeared in Russia's crosshairs after the Eastern European country invaded Ukraine in February 2022. As a consequence, Stone announced Meta would temporarily update its hate speech policy to permit "forms of political expression that would normally violate (its) rules, like violent speech such as 'death to the Russian invaders,'" according to ABC News.
However, Stone mentioned in the same statement that the platform would still ban accounts that called for violence against Russian civilians.
Mediazona claimed on Sunday that a Russian court had issued an arrest warrant for Stone earlier this month on charges of "facilitating terrorism," but the report did not give specific details about the source of the information.
Major social media platforms — such as X, Instagram, and Facebook — were apparently popular with young Russia citizens before the war broke out in Ukraine, but the country has now blocked access to these sites.
Russians can still access these social media platforms, but they must use a VPN — a tool used to make it appear as if an electronic device is geographically located in a place it is not.
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg was banned from entering Russia in April 2022, and the ban still remains in place.
ABC News reported on Sunday that Russian audio recordings were intercepted and appear to suggest that Russian soldiers want out of the war, as the conflict is set to enter its second winter.
In the recordings, Russian soldiers speak in shorthand, with 200s to mean those who have been killed, 300s to mean those who have been wounded, and then 500s, representing those who refuse to fight.
The secret recordings were apparently obtained by the Associated Press, which reveal Russian soldiers calling home from Ukrainian regions, including Donetsk, Kharkiv, and Luhansk.
The focus previously put on the Russia-Ukraine conflict has now shifted to the Middle East, between Israel and Hamas.
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