Vladimir Putin is an evil man. I believed that before he invaded Ukraine, and believe it still. I would say I believe it more now, but frankly after the Chechen atrocities my opinion could not go any lower. I am hardly surprised that his regime is committing atrocities in Ukraine, since that is how he rolls.
But Putin and I have found one area of agreement, at least: Facebook really sucks. We don’t agree at all on why — Putin, after all, wants it to be even more censorious than they are, while I would like them to stay out of the speech suppression business as much as possible. Ban incitement? Yes. Go much beyond that? No thank you.
But nevertheless, Meta still stinks:
MOSCOW–Russia on Tuesday added US tech giant Meta, the parent company of Instagram and Facebook, to a list of “terrorist and extremist” organisations, according to a database of the Federal Service for Financial Monitoring (Rosfinmonitoring).
Russia in late March banned Facebook and Instagram for “carrying out extremist activities” after authorities accused Meta of tolerating “Russophobia” during Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine.
Meta had announced on March 10 that the platforms would allow statements like “death to Russian invaders” but not credible threats against civilians, before saying the change only applied to users posting from inside Ukraine.
Now of course I don’t actually believe that Meta (Facebook’s parent company) is actually a terrorist organization, just as I don’t think that most of the people Facebook is censoring in the US are actually horrible White Supremacists bent on destroying American democracy. As usual, Putin gets thing wrong in the substance of his criticisms–although I must admit that Meta is being more than a bit hypocritical when it comes to allowing hate speech against Russians. Not that I care much in that narrow case, except for the rank hypocrisy it reveals.
Unfortunately Meta will be just fine without the patronage of Russians, although apparently Instagram is very popular there among the average people. As usual the people who are paying the price of Putin’s policies are ordinary Russian and Ukrainian citizens who have done nothing wrong.
Russia is such a small economy that losing access to the market makes only a rounding error in Meta’s profit margin.
Still, I did enjoy just a moment of schadenfreude as I saw two entities I dislike so much duking it out, and am more than a little pleased to see that Putin is actually getting the worse of the fight. Meta can live without Putin easily, while Facebook’s disappearance from the Russian market is a daily reminder to the Russian people that Putin is getting more isolated every day, while being revealed as a paper tiger. He can’t even fight a tech company and win.