Moscow court sentences Meta spokesman in absentia to six years in prison

Andy Stone. Photo: LinkedIn

Andy Stone. Photo: LinkedIn

A Moscow military court has sentenced Meta spokesman Andy Stone to six years in prison in absentia for a post on X in which he was alleged to have publicly justified terrorism, independent news outlet Mediazona reported Monday.

The case arose in the light of a tweet by Stone from March 2022 in which he said the platform had “temporarily made allowances for forms of political expression that would normally violate our rules”, such as “death to the Russian invaders”. Meta emphasised that the reference applied specifically to the military, and not civilians.

Russian investigators opened a criminal case the day of Stone’s tweet, Mediazona wrote Thursday, adding that within 10 days, a Moscow court had declared Meta an “extremist organisation”. By that time, both Facebook and Instagram had already been blocked in the country.

Meta President for Global Affairs Nick Clegg said at the time that the policy only applied to users inside Ukraine. “There is no change at all in our policies on hate speech as far as the Russian people are concerned. We will not tolerate Russophobia or any kind of discrimination, harassment or violence towards Russia on our platform.”

Neither Meta nor Stone have commented on the case, though Stone’s lawyer, Valentina Filipenkova, said her client had not been properly informed about the start of the proceedings, according to Mediazona.

Editor in chief — Kirill Martynov. Terms of use. Privacy policy.