Donbas republicans block access to Facebook, Instagram

Donbas republicans block access to Facebook, Instagram

The Russian-backed self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic DPR in eastern Ukraine said on Wednesday it had blocked access to Facebook and Instagram, aligning itself with Russia's policy on US-based social networks.

Moscow recognized the DPR and a second region of eastern Ukraine -- the Luhansk People's Republic -- as independent on February 21, and sent troops into Ukraine three days later, citing the need to protect Russian speakers there.

Access to the information resources of the American company Meta, which allows calls for violence against Russian-speaking users on its social networks, has already been blocked, the DPR's communications ministry said in a statement.

Access to the Facebook and Instagram social networks is blocked in the republic's territory. Meta Platforms Inc didn't respond immediately to a request for comment.

In March, Russia banned Facebook and Instagram after a court found Meta guilty of extremist activity. Moscow had already curbed access to Facebook, limiting access to Russian media outlets' access to the platform.

In March, Russia's state communications regulator blocked access to Instagram after Meta said it would allow social media users in Ukraine to post messages such as Death to the Russian invaders. Meta said that temporary change in its hate speech policy only applied to Ukraine.

Russia has close relationships with Donetsk and Luhansk, collectively known as the Donbas, since Moscow annexation of Crimea in 2014.