Russia’s state media watchdog Roskomnadzor says Instagram will be blocked in the country due to “calls for violence” against Russian soldiers.

Instagram owner Meta said it would let its users in some countries call for violence against Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian soldiers. 

It will temporarily allow some violent posts such as “death to the Russian invaders” that usually break its rules. 

However, it says it won’t permit calls for violence against Russian civilians.

In response to Meta’s shift in policy, Russia called on the US to stop the social media giant’s “extremist activities”.

On Friday, the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office called for a criminal investigation to be launched against Meta, citing Russian propaganda and extremism laws, according to a statement quoted by privately-owned news agency Interfax.

The agency added that the Prosecutor General’s Office had asked state media watchdog Roskomnadzor to restrict access to Instagram over the “distribution of information materials containing calls to carry out violent actions against Russians, including servicemen”.

On 4 March, Roskomnadzor said it was blocking access to Facebook in Russia over “discrimination” against Russian media.

Meta owns Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp.

However, WhatsApp is not currently being blocked in Russia as it is a messaging platform rather than a social network.

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