MOSCOW (Reuters) – A Moscow court said on Monday it had ordered Meta Platforms spokesman Andy Stone to be arrested in absentia for two months pending trial on several terrorism-related charges.
Meta did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment, and Stone declined to comment.
Russia became increasingly hostile to Meta after Moscow moved its army into Ukraine in February 2022. Meta’s main social platforms – Facebook and Instagram – were banned shortly after the conflict began, and Meta was later found guilty of “extremist activities” in Russia.
Russia’s Interior Ministry opened criminal proceedings against Stone late last year, without disclosing specific charges.
Moscow’s Basmanny District Court said Monday that Stone was charged with “propaganda of terrorist activities, public calls for terrorist activities, public justification of terrorism or propaganda for terrorism, and public calls for extremist activities.”
The court also said that Stone was wanted both in Russia and abroad.
In March 2022, the Russian Investigative Committee announced that it had opened a criminal investigation into “illegal actions by Meta employees” and cited Stone, saying that he “overturned the ban on calls for violence against the Russian military on his platforms” and thus incited extremist activity. .
(Reporting by Volodymyr Soldatkin; Additional reporting by Alexander Marrow, Samritha Arunasalam, Kathy Paul; Editing by William McLean)