Russia Today announced that it will partially restrict access to Facebook as the platform for “censoring” Russian media. It is the 1,000th time that Russia has taken steps against US social media platforms.
Moscow has been trying to exert more control over the internet and big tech companies for years. According to critics, Russia wants to act against outspoken opponents of the Kremlin, thereby endangering the freedom of individuals and companies.
According to the Russian Communications Authority, Facebook ignored its demands to lift restrictions on four Russian media channels on its platform. This is the Ria news agency, Zvezda TV of the Ministry of Defense and the websites gazeta.ru and lenta.ru.
Facebook: ‘Don’t stop at independent fact-checking’
“Yesterday the Russian authorities ordered us to stop independent fact-checking and categorization of content posted on Facebook by four Russian state-owned media organizations,” said Nick Clegg, director of global affairs at Meta, the parent company of Facebook. “We declined. As a result, they announced that they would restrict the use of our services.”
According to Clegg, “ordinary Russians” use Meta apps to “express themselves and organize actions” and the company wants them to continue to do so.
It was not immediately clear what Facebook’s Russian restrictions would entail. Last year, Moscow slowed Twitter to penalize the platform.
Facebook has been on the nerves of the Russian authorities for a long time. Moscow regularly fines the company because the network, they say, fails to remove illegal content quickly enough. In December, Facebook was fined 2 billion rubles (21.6 million euros) for “repeated failure to remove content”.
Moscow is also increasing pressure on local media and threatening to block messages allegedly containing “disinformation” about Russia’s military operation in Ukraine.
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