Russian authorities reportedly place Meta spokesperson on wanted list

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A Russian online database now includes Meta spokesman Andy Stone on a wanted list, which comes just weeks after authorities classified the social media company as a “terrorist and extremist” organization, according to reports.

The Associated Press reported that Russian state agency Tass and independent news outlet Mediazona published reports that Stone, Meta’s communications director, was included in the wanted list on Sunday.

When Russia classified Meta as a “terrorist and extremist” organization in October, it opened a way for the country to take criminal action against residents using any of the company’s platforms, including Facebook and Instagram.

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Details about the case against Stone are not provided in the interior ministry’s database, other than that he is wanted on criminal charges.

Meta did not immediately respond to inquiries from Fox News Digital on the matter.

Mediazona, which reports on Russia’s opposition and prison system, reported that Stone was actually placed on the wanted list in February 2022, though authorities, until this week, had not made statements about his placement on the list.

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In March 2023, a Russian investigative committee opened a criminal investigation into Meta, which is owned by Mark Zuckerberg, on allegations the social media company incited violence against Russians after Moscow conducted a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022.

After troops moved into Ukraine, Stone announced Meta was temporarily changing its policy regarding hate speech, allowing for “forms of political expression that would normally violate (its) rules, like violent speech such as ‘death to the Russian invaders.’”

He also said, “credible calls for violence against Russian civilians” would remain banned.

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An unspecified Russian court, according to Mediazona’s report on Sunday, issued an arrest warrant for Stone earlier this month for “facilitating terrorism,” though the source of the information was not provided.

Prior to the invasion, social media platforms sparked in the west – Facebook, Instagram and X, formerly known as Twitter – were popular with young Russians, but they have since been blocked as part of a crackdown on independent media and other forms of free speech.

Zuckerberg was also barred from entering Russia in April 2022.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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