Russia ‘limits’ access to Facebook, which it accuses of censoring Russian media

The social network is no longer welcome in the country currently at war with Ukraine. The communications regulator accuses him of making the Russian media invisible.

The Russian communications policeman said he had “limited access” to Facebook since Friday, accusing the American social network of censoring Russian media and violating human rights and Russian citizens.

“In accordance with the decision of the Prosecutor General with regard to the social network Facebook, from February 25, Roskomnadzor adopts measures to limit its access”, indicated the Roskomnadzor agency, without specifying the nature of the limitations.

The Russian regulator accuses the American giant of having restricted the official accounts on its platform of the Russian channel Zvezda, linked to the Ministry of Defense, the state-run news agency Ria Novosti and the Russian online media Lenta.ru and Gazeta .ru.

Requests ignored

“Roskomnadzor asked the administration of Meta to lift the restrictions imposed by Facebook on Russian media and to explain the reason for their imposition. The requests were ignored by the owners of the social network,” he continued.

Roskomnadzor also claimed to have observed 23 “censorship cases” against Russian media and internet resources by Facebook since October 2020.

“The Public Prosecutor’s Office, in consultation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has decided to recognize Facebook as a social network involved in the violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms as well as the rights and freedoms of Russian citizens”.

Through the voice of its communications director Nick Clegg, Facebook responded to this sanction on Twitter.

“Yesterday, Russian authorities asked us to stop independent fact-checking and issuing warnings about Facebook posts by four Russian state-owned media outlets. We refused. As a result, they announced the limitation the use of our services. The Russian population uses Meta’s applications to express themselves and organize their actions. We want them to continue to make their voices heard, to share what is happening and to organize themselves through through Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger,” tweeted Nick Clegg, who is also a former British deputy prime minister.

War background

This decision comes as Russia caused a major geopolitical crisis by invading Ukraine on the morning of February 24.

It is also part of a series of measures taken against large networks by the Russian authorities in recent years, often under the pretext of protecting minors and combating extremism.

Platforms like Facebook, YouTube, TikTok and Twitter have been fined multiple times. The authorities had also ordered to slow down the operation of Twitter.

Victoria Beurnez with AFP

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