Russia’s media regulator accused Facebook of limiting access to Russian news outlets, alleging 26 instances of ‘discrimination.’
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 limitations on access to Russian media on its platform.
Roskomnadzor, Russia’s media regulator, said that Facebook had discriminated against Russian media on 26 occasions since October 2020, with access blocked to state-backed stations such as RT and the RIA news agency.
This week, the firm announced that it has restricted access to RT and Sputnik across the European Union and was internationally demoting content from Russian state-controlled outlets’ Facebook pages and Instagram profiles, as well as postings on Facebook containing links to those outlets.
Last week, Moscow said that it was partially restricting Facebook access, citing the company’s refusal to comply with a government order to halt independent fact-checking of various Russian state media sources.
Meanwhile, the Tass news agency claimed that Russia had banned Twitter access on Friday. The service had previously been restricted, according to the Interfax news agency.
Twitter Inc did not reply quickly to a request for comment.
Nick Clegg, Meta’s head of global relations, stated that the company would continue to do everything possible to restore its services.
“Soon, millions of regular Russians will be cut off from credible information, robbed of their everyday ways of communicating with family and friends, and silenced from speaking up,” he warned in a Twitter message.
Major technology and social media corporations have been under pressure to respond to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last Thursday, which has resulted in economic penalties against Moscow imposed by countries throughout the world. Russia refers to its operations in Ukraine as a “special operation.”
According to Roskomnadzor, Meta has recently limited 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.
It claimed that such limits violated important principles of information freedom and Russian internet users’ unrestricted access to Russian media.
It said that such limits breached important principles of information freedom and the privacy of Russian internet users. IN MOSCOW, an AFP journalist reported that Facebook was down, but Facebook-owned Instagram was still accessible.
The move comes amid a government crackdown on independent media and activists that has been unprecedented since the beginning of the Russian invasion.
The country’s last remaining liberal media sites have been closed in recent days. A new rule imposing hefty jail terms for disseminating “false news” regarding the Ukraine war has prompted others to refrain from covering the subject.