Russia Sentences Zuckerberg’s Meta Spokesperson To 6 Years In Prison For Claims He Encouraged Russian Violence


Andy Stone

A Russian court has handed down a six-year prison sentence to Andy Stone, the communications director at Meta, after convicting him in absentia of justifying terrorism. The charges, reported by Mediazona, stem from comments Stone made regarding Meta’s temporary changes to its hate speech policy during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

In response to the conflict, The Andy Stone Russia issue stemmed from his announcement that Meta would allow certain forms of political expression on its platforms, Facebook and Instagram, that would normally breach its rules, such as statements like “death to the Russian invaders.” However, he made it clear that calls for violence against Russian civilians would continue to be prohibited.

Despite these specifications, Russian authorities pursued charges against Stone, accusing him of making illegal calls for violence and killings of Russian citizens. The situation escalated as Russia declared Meta an extremist organization and blocked access to Facebook and Instagram within the country. These platforms, along with X (formerly Twitter), which was also blocked, were previously popular among Russians but are now only accessible via VPNs.

The trial was conducted swiftly, beginning on a Friday and concluding by Monday with only two hearings. Andy Stone Meta, who resides in the U.S., was represented by a government-appointed lawyer, emphasizing the trial’s expedited and contentious nature. The decision is seen to put Stone in a Russian prison. Besides the prison sentence, Stone has been barred from administering websites for four additional years.

This case highlights the escalating tensions between Russia and international technology companies, particularly those like Meta, that have taken stances on geopolitical issues. It also underscores the broader crackdown on free speech and the suppression of dissent within Russia, especially in the context of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. The trial and conviction of Stone in absentia marks a significant moment in the complex relationship between global tech firms and Russian regulatory and judicial systems.


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