UPDATED 14:56 EDT / MARCH 01 2022

SECURITY

Meta rolls out encrypted direct messaging to Instagram in Ukraine and Russia

Meta Platforms Inc. today announced that it has made an encrypted direct messaging feature available for Instagram users in Ukraine and Russia. 

The company also stated that it’s demoting content from the Facebook pages and Instagram accounts of Russian state-controlled media outlets.

Instagram users in Ukraine and Russia now have access to a feature that can encrypt their one-to-one direct messages. Meta is also adding a notification to Instagram’s direct message inbox informing users in Ukraine and Russia that they can switch to encrypted messaging.

In addition, Meta today said it’s demoting content posted by the Facebook pages and Instagram accounts of Russian state-controlled media outlets. “We are demoting content from Facebook pages and Instagram accounts from Russian state-controlled media outlets, and we are making them harder to find across our platforms,” said Meta Vice President of Global Affairs and Communications Nick Clegg.

“We have also begun to demote posts that contain links to Russian state-controlled media websites on Facebook,” Clegg added. “Over the next few days, we will label these links and provide more information to people before they share them or click on them to let them know that they lead to state-controlled media websites. We plan on putting similar measures in place on Instagram.”

Previously, Meta on Monday said it’s blocking access to Russian state media outlets RT and Sputnik on its platforms in the European Union following requests from the EU and a number of governments. 

Elaborating on Meta’s efforts, Clegg detailed today that “we have also expanded our third-party fact-checking capacity in Russian and Ukrainian, and are providing more context and transparency around the content shared by the Russian state-controlled media outlets.”

Earlier, Meta last week moved to block Russian state media from running ads or monetizing ads on its platform.

Google LLC has taken similar steps. Over the weekend, the company told Reuters that it has blocked RT and several other channels from monetizing ads. Additionally, Google stated that it will prohibit Russian media from buying ads through Google tools or placing ads on its services, including its search engine. 

Image: Meta

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