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Russian court says appeal launched against ban on Meta for "extremism" - Interfax

FILE PHOTO: Meta logo is placed on a Russian flag in this illustration taken February 26, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

An appeal has been launched against a Moscow court ruling that banned Meta from operating in Russia on the grounds of "extremist activity", Interfax news agency said on Tuesday.

Interfax initially reported that Meta itself had lodged the appeal but then cited the court press service as saying it had been filed by an unidentified third party.

The court could not immediately be reached for further clarification. A Meta spokesperson had no immediate comment.

The Moscow court ruling was delivered on March 21, confirming bans on Meta's Facebook and Instagram social networks that Russia had already imposed. Its WhatsApp messaging service was not affected.

Russia initially banned Facebook for restricting access to Russian media, while Instagram was blocked after Moscow objected to temporary changes in Meta's hate speech policy designed to allow users to vent their anger over Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

At the March court hearing, Meta's lawyer said the company was not carrying out extremist activities and was opposed to Russophobia.

Facebook last year had 7.5 million users in Russia and WhatsApp had 67 million, researcher Insider Intelligence estimates, while Instagram has said its ban will affect 80 million users in Russia.

(Reporting by Mark Trevelyan in London and Sheila Dang in New York; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

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