A Russian court on Monday accused Meta Platforms spokesman Andy Stone of “promoting terrorism” and ordered his arrest, Russian news agencies reported.
The move follows a crackdown on freedom of speech in Russia following the launch of its military offensive in Ukraine in February 2022, including against social platforms such as Meta that refuse to remove content judged illegal.
In October 2022, Russia listed Meta as a “terrorist and extremist” organisation, opening possible criminal investigations and fines for users in the country.
“Andy Mark Stone was (ordered) arrested in absentia in a case of supporting terrorism,” court spokeswoman Olga Nazarova said, according to the TASS news agency.
Stone, who is not in Russia, was placed on the interior ministry’s list of wanted people Sunday.
The reports did not provide any further details regarding the case.
Facebook and Instagram have been blocked in Russia since shortly after the start of the Ukraine offensive and are only accessible via VPN.
Twitter is also banned, as well as Russian independent media critical of the Kremlin.
Before the bans, millions of Russians used applications belonging to Meta, especially Instagram, which remains hugely popular with young Russians.
In April 2022, Russia put Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg on a blacklist of people banned from entering the country.