Friday, May 20, 2022

Russia blocks Facebook amid war in Ukraine

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Russia blocks Facebook amid war in Ukraine, More than a week after Moscow invaded Ukraine, Russia’s communications regulator says it has disabled Meta Platforms Inc’s Facebook in reaction to what it claims are limits on access to Russian media on the network.

Since October 2020, there have been 26 complaints of discrimination against Russian media by Facebook, according to Roskomnadzor, with access blocked to state-backed stations such as RT and the RIA news agency.

This week, the business announced that it has restricted access to RT and Sputnik across the European Union and was demoting content from Russian state-controlled outlets’ Facebook pages and Instagram profiles, as well as posts containing links to those outlets on Facebook, globally.

Last week, Moscow said that it was restricting access to Facebook in part, citing the company’s refusal to comply with a government order to suspend independent fact-checking of multiple Russian state media sources. By Saturday, Twitter had also announced that some Russian users will be unable to use the service.

Nick Clegg, Meta’s worldwide affairs director, stated that the business would continue to do everything possible to restore its services.

“Millions of ordinary Russians will soon be cut off from credible information, robbed of their everyday ways of communicating with family and friends, and silenced from speaking up,” he stated in a Twitter message.

Major tech and social media businesses have been under pressure to respond to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last Thursday, which has resulted in global economic sanctions against Moscow. Russia’s efforts in Ukraine are referred to as a “special operation.”

In recent days, Meta has banned access to the accounts of state-backed news outlets, including RT, Sputnik, the RIA news agency, the defense ministry’s Zvezda TV, and the websites gazeta.ru and lenta.ru, according to Roskomnadzor.

It said that such restrictions violated important principles of freedom of information and unrestricted access to Russian media for Russian internet users.

Facebook was down, but Facebook-owned Instagram was still accessible, according to a journalist with the AFP news agency in Moscow.

The move comes amid a government crackdown on independent media and activists that has been unprecedented since the Russian invasion began.

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