Russian social media influencers react to Russia’s Instagram ban


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Influencers in Russia are speaking out about the Instagram ban in the country amid the Russia-Ukraine war.

Instagram’s ban went into effect Monday.

Popular social media stars who have amassed millions of followers posted tearful videos in which they hinted that their livelihoods as they knew it have been upended.

Olga Buzova, who is reportedly a reality TV star in Russia, informed her 23.3 million followers on Instagram that she felt as if her life was “being taken away” from her.

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“I am not afraid of admitting that I do not want to lose you,” the 36-year-old said to her 23.2 million followers, according to Insider.

In her seven-minute-long video, Buzova went on to say that she doesn’t’ know “what the future holds.”

“I don’t know. I just shared my life, my work and my soul. I did not do this all as a job for me — this is a part of my soul. It feels like a big part of my heart and my life is being taken away from me,” she added, according to the report.

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Another blogger, whose name has not been identified, was the subject of some tweets for a video she posted in which she cried over the ban.

“To me, it’s all life. It’s the soul. It’s the one thing with which I wake up, fall asleep. F–king five years in a row,” the blogger said in Russian, according to reports. 

Another influencer named Valeria Chekalina said goodbye in a post on her Instagram, which has 10.5 million followers. She added that she will still be using the Telegram app but said she knows not everyone uses it.

Russian regulators said Friday that the country’s internet users will be blocked from accessing Instagram, saying it’s being used to call for violence against Russian soldiers.

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Communications and media regulator Roskomnadzor said in a statement that it’s restricting national access to Instagram. It said the platform is spreading “calls to commit violent acts against Russian citizens, including military personnel.”

Roskomnadzor cited a Thursday tweet by Meta spokesman Andy Stone conveying a company statement saying it had “made allowances for forms of political expression that would normally violate our rules on violent speech, such as ‘death to the Russian invaders’.”

The Instagram app icon on the screen of a mobile device 
(AP Photo/Jenny Kane)

Stone’s statement followed a Reuters report that Meta was making a temporary change to its hate speech policy to allow Facebook and Instagram users in some countries to call for violence against Russians and Russian soldiers in the context of the Ukraine invasion.

The statement stressed that the company “still won’t allow credible calls for violence against Russian civilians.”

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Facebook parent Meta Platforms, which also owns Instagram, on Friday defended what it described as a temporary decision “taken in extraordinary and unprecedented circumstances.”

“I want to be crystal clear: Our policies are focused on protecting people’s rights to speech as an expression of self-defense in reaction to a military invasion of their country,” said a statement Friday from Nick Clegg, Meta’s president of global affairs.

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“The fact is, if we applied our standard content policies without any adjustments we would now be removing content from ordinary Ukrainians expressing their resistance and fury at the invading military forces, which would rightly be viewed as unacceptable,” Clegg added.

He noted that the policy only applies in Ukraine and the company hasn’t changed its policies against hate speech targeting Russian people.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.





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