Tue. Feb 27th, 2024

Meta Communications Director Wanted by Russia

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Young people in front of a Meta poster

The Canadian Press

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Speech synthesis, based on artificial intelligence, makes it possible to generate spoken text from written text.

Russia has added the spokesperson for US technology company Meta, owner of Facebook and Instagram, to a wanted list, database says online database managed by the country's Ministry of Interior.

Russian state agency TASS and independent media outlet Mediazona reported Sunday that Meta's communications director, Andy Stone, was included on the list after Russian authorities classified Meta as a terrorist organization and extremist in October, paving the way for possible criminal charges against Russian residents who use its platforms.

The Home Office database does not give details of Mr Stone's case, saying only that he is wanted on criminal charges. Meta did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

According to Mediazona, an independent news site that covers the Russian opposition and prison system, Mr. Stone was placed on the wanted list in February 2022, but the authorities made no statement about it at the time and no media outlets ;reported this matter until this week.

Last March, the Russian Federal Investigative Committee opened a criminal investigation into Meta. She alleged that the company's actions, following Moscow's full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, amounted to incitement of violence against Russians.

After Russian troops entered Ukraine, Mr. Stone announced temporary changes to Meta's hate speech policy to allow forms of political expression that would normally violate [its] policy. rules, such as violent speeches such as "death to the Russian invaders".

In the same statement, Mr. Stone added that credible calls for violence against Russian civilians would remain prohibited.

Mediazona said on Sunday that an unspecified Russian court had issued an arrest warrant earlier this month for Stone on charges of facilitating terrorism. The article does not specify the source of this information, which could not be independently verified.

The platforms of Western social media, such as Facebook, Instagram and X (formerly Twitter), were popular with young Russians before the 2022 invasion of Ukraine, but have since been blocked in the country of a broad crackdown on independent media and other forms of critical speech. They are now only accessible through a virtual private network (better known as a VPN).

In addition, in April 2022, Russia formally banned Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg from entering the country.

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