In the midst of the continuing Russia-Ukraine conflict, the Russian Foreign Ministry has produced a list of US officials, including IT titans, who are now barred from entering the country indefinitely.
According to TechCrunch, the list includes high-profile US politicians like Vice President Kamala Harris, internet giants including Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and LinkedIn CEO Ryan Roslansky, journalists, and others pushing a “Russophobic” agenda.
The announcement follows Russia’s actions to shut down or restrict access to various Western sites that do not comply with its information dissemination standards, especially to curb pro-Russian messages.
Snapping access to Facebook and Instagram, restricting access to Google News, and providing warnings about YouTube have all been part of these shutdowns.
Meanwhile, Apple, Google, Microsoft, and a slew of other digital behemoths have halted or suspended operations in Russia.
Others on the list include Brian Thomas Moynihan, Chairman and CEO of Bank of America, and George Stephanopoulos, anchor of the ABC television network.
According to The Moscow Times, the United States and the European Union have sanctioned certain Russians directly, including President Vladimir Putin, his children, and billionaires viewed as critical to the Russian leader’s influence.
Russia has forbidden Zuckerberg from visiting the country, which is not surprising given that Russia has banned Facebook and Instagram under anti-extremism legislation. Facebook and Instagram, two of Russia’s most popular applications, have been accused of “carrying out terrorist activity.” Russia, on the other hand, did not prohibit WhatsApp, a Facebook subsidiary, claiming that the program is used for communication and is not a cause of misunderstanding.
According to TASS, the Russian state news agency, “the Meta organization’s efforts are geared at Russia and its armed forces.”
According to a Bloomberg article, Meta’s new moderation guideline “is never to be taken as endorsing violence against Russians in general” in an internal email to company workers. He did clarify, however, that “calls to kill a head of state are not permitted by Meta.” Last week, Meta users in Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, and Poland, all in Eastern Europe, were able to post messages demanding Putin’s death. The photo-sharing software had close to 80 million users in Russia when it was banned.