(CTN News) – According to an online database maintained by Russia’s interior ministry, the spokesman of U.S. tech giant Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, has been added to a wanted list.
This development was first reported by the Russian state agency Tass and independent news outlet Mediazona. Andy Stone’s inclusion on the list comes after Russian authorities classified Meta as a “terrorist and extremist” organization in October, potentially leading to criminal proceedings against Russian users of its platforms.
The interior ministry’s database does not provide specific information about the charges against Stone, only stating that he is wanted for criminal offenses.
Stone was added to the wanted list in February 2022, as reported by Mediazona, an independent news website that focuses on Russia’s opposition and prison system.
However, no official statements were made by authorities at that time, and the matter remained unreported by news media until this week.
In March of this year, Russia’s federal Investigative Committee initiated a criminal investigation against Meta. The committee claimed that Meta’s actions after Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 constituted incitement of violence against Russians.
Following the entry of Russian troops into Ukraine,
Stone has made a temporary adjustment to Meta’s hate speech policy.
This adjustment permits certain forms of political expression that would typically be in violation of the platform’s rules, including violent speech such as “death to the Russian invaders.”
However, Stone clarified that any credible calls for violence against Russian civilians will continue to be prohibited.
Mediazona recently alleged that an unidentified Russian court issued an arrest warrant for Stone, accusing him of “facilitating terrorism.” The report did not disclose the origin of this information, and its authenticity could not be independently verified.
Prior to Moscow’s extensive military intervention in Ukraine, Western social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and X (previously known as Twitter) were widely embraced by young Russians.
However, as part of a comprehensive crackdown on independent media and dissenting voices, these platforms have been blocked in the country. Presently, the only means of accessing them is through a VPN.
Furthermore, in April 2022, Russia officially prohibited Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg from entering the country.