In an effort to wean Russia off Western technology, a Russian lawmaker urged state institutions on Wednesday to stop using WhatsApp messenger. The industry ministry also sought to promote domestically produced software.
After being found guilty of ‘extremist behaviour’ in Russia in March, WhatsApp owner Meta Platforms Inc. was later added to Rosfinmonitoring’s list of ‘terrorists and extremists.’ In court, Meta’s attorney claimed that Meta was not engaging in extreme behaviour and opposed to xenophobia.
In March, Russia suspended Meta’s accounts on Facebook and Instagram in protest at restrictions on Russian media and some posts that users in Ukraine were allowed to make.
WhatsApp, which is widely used in Russia, has always been accessible, but Anton Gorelkin, the deputy head of the committee on information policy in the Russian parliament, announced on Wednesday that he would be removing the app personally and that a wider ban should be instituted.
Gorelkin posted on Telegram, a popular alternative messenger in Russia, ‘I think it is important to implement a full ban on WhatsApp use for official purposes by the Russian state and municipal personnel.’