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Russian Instagram user faces jail for using the platform

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19-year-old Russian influencer Veronika Loginova was threatened with prison time for using Instagram. Both Facebook and Instagram were banned in Russia in March, after the government declared their parent company Meta an “extremist organization.”

Loginova, who has over 550,000 followers on Instagram, describes herself as a “fashion lover.”

According to Roskomsvoboda, a digital rights nonprofit providing Loginova with legal support, she created her account at the age of 15. Since then she has used the platform to talk about creating a business and fashion.

Loginova posted images of a document that was sent by Russian prosecutors accusing her of having “performed actions to attract users on the social networks Facebook and Instagram.” The document said that her actions could be “considered a form of participation in the activities of an extremist organization,” adding that her accounts were under investigation.

Roskomsvoboda said that Loginova would be the first person to be prosecuted since Instagram was banned.

“For maintaining Instagram, I now face a prison term of up to six years,” the fashion blogger wrote in a post. “Good morning, you woke up in Russia. And it’s not customary for us to talk about this, but I’ll say it.”

She said that she got a call from her mother back in August, telling her that “people came to our house and they are looking for you.”

“Are you serious? Me? An 18-year-old girl and fashion blogger? An entrepreneur, a creator of a clothing brand who pays taxes to her country? A person who posts about mental health support and has never touched a political agenda on their blog?” Loginova wrote.

She said that her situation is “not normal,” and that she wants “as many people as possible to know about this story.”

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