As its invasion of Ukraine wears on, Russia has announced a country-wide ban on Facebook.
According to CNBC, Russia’s media regulator announced the ban on Friday and alleged the platform was trying to silence Russian state media outlets.
The announcement follows a similar one last week in which Russia placed restrictions on Facebook in the country due to the platform’s alleged discrimination against state media outlets.
Meta President of Global Affairs Nick Clegg said Russian authorities demanded the company stop fact-checking and placing warning labels on stories from state media outlets, but Meta refused, CNBC reported.
According to The Guardian, Meta platforms Facebook and Instagram removed both Russia Today and Sputnik from appearing in the feeds of users from the European Union this week.
On Friday, the platforms also removed the outlets from appearing in the UK. That may have been the last straw for Russian authorities.
As a result of the crackdown, Russia ultimately barred access to the platform completely for its residents.
Russia’s media regulator said Friday it had found 26 “cases of discrimination against Russian media and information resources by Facebook,” CNBC reported. These perceived injustices apparently fueled Russia to institute the ban.
In a statement posted to his Twitter account on Friday, Clegg took aim at Russia’s new ban.
“Soon millions of ordinary Russians will find themselves cut off from reliable information, deprived of their everyday ways of connecting with family and friends and silenced from speaking out,” Clegg wrote.
“We will continue to do everything we can to restore our services so they remain available to people to safely and securely express themselves and organize for action.”
On the Russian government’s decision to block access to Facebook in the Russian Federation: pic.twitter.com/JlJwIu1t9K
— Nick Clegg (@nickclegg) March 4, 2022
According to The New York Times reporter Mike Isaac, the ban only applied to Facebook as of Friday. It did not extend to other Meta platforms Instagram and Whatsapp, which he said were “much more popular in the region” than Facebook.
Important to note: the Russian ban on Facebook does NOT include Instagram or WhatsApp — two services which are much more popular in the region than the big blue app
— rat king (@MikeIsaac) March 4, 2022
Facebook is one of many platforms committed to cracking down on Russian state media. Both Google and Twitter have pulled advertising in Russia and said they will continue to label state media outlets, CNBC reported.
Reports suggested Russia had blocked Twitter on Friday, but the country had not yet confirmed this action and said only that access to Twitter had been at least partially restricted, The Guardian reported.
In addition, the BBC suspended its journalistic work in Russia after the country announced a new law giving the government the power to jail anyone who spreads “fake news” about the Russian military.
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