Tuesday January 31, 2023

Russia partially restricts access to Facebook to ‘protect Russian media’

The Russian government has partially blocked access to Facebook in the country after it claims the social network “restricted” the accounts of four Russian media outlets.

In a statement on Friday, Russia’s tech and communications regulator, Roskomnadzor, said Facebook was violating “the rights and freedoms of Russian citizens,” and that it had recorded 23 cases of “censorship” by the social network since October 2020.

“On February 24, Roskomnadzor sent requests to the administration of Meta Platforms, Inc. [to] remove the restrictions imposed by the social network Facebook on Russian media and explain the reason for their introduction,” the Russian regulator said, adding that Meta “ignored” its requests.

Meta has yet to publicly confirm the actions it took against the Russian media accounts, though they likely have to do with state-backed propaganda about Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine. It’s unclear what Roskomnadzor’s partial restrictions against Facebook mean or if the government is also somehow blocking access to Meta-owned WhatsApp in the country. A spokesperson for Meta had no immediate comment.

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