Russia puts the spokesman for Facebook owner Meta on a wanted list

Russia’s interior ministry has added the spokesman of U.S. technology company Meta to a wanted list according to its online database

Russian state agency Tass and independent news outlet Mediazona first reported that Meta communications director Andy Stone was included on the list Sunday, weeks after Russian authorities in October classified Meta as a “terrorist and extremist” organization, opening the way for possible criminal proceedings against Russian residents using its platforms.

The interior ministry’s database doesn’t give details of the case against Stone, stating only that he is wanted on criminal charges. Meta didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

According to Mediazona, an independent news website that covers Russia’s opposition and prison system, Stone was put on the wanted list in February 2022, but authorities made no related statements at the time and no news media reported on the matter until this week.

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

In the same statement, Stone added that “credible calls for violence against Russian civilians” would remain banned.

Mediazona on Sunday claimed that an unspecified Russian court issued an arrest warrant earlier this month for Stone on charges of “facilitating terrorism.” The report didn’t specify the source of that information, which couldn’t be independently verified.

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