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Russian Official Calls to Ban Instagram Over 'Leningrad Terror Attack'

Alexander Bastrykin / Pixabay / MT

The head of Russia’s investigative committee has named Instagram as yet another social network that should be banned for allegedly giving a platform to terrorists to commit attacks.

Russia is in the middle of a campaign to block the Telegram messaging app for what security officials maintain is its refusal to hand over terror suspects’ private communications. Russia’s Federal Security Services (FSB) claim that terrorists used the messaging app to carry out a deadly suicide bombing in St. Petersburg last year.

“Instagram should be shut down because the terrorist attack in Leningrad last year was committed with the help of Instagram,” the RBC business outlet quoted Investigative Committee head Alexander Bastrykin as saying on Monday.

Leningrad is the Soviet-era name for St. Petersburg, where a suicide bomber killed 15 people in an April 3, 2017, metro attack.

Russian officials had previously blamed Telegram for the attack.

Citing Turkey as an example where “there’s a domestic information system for children instead of Yandex and Google,” Bastrykin lamented that “we can’t even close down Instagram.”

Earlier this year, Bastrykin argued that the authorities should be able to block extremist websites before obtaining a court order.

Turning his ire more broadly on the internet, the Investigative Committee head reportedly claimed that time spent online has led to an increase in Russia’s youth suicide rate.

“What do they have left? The internet. But there lies suicide [...] Our children are on the Internet: let’s do something about it.”

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