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Facebook temporarily blocks RT ahead of Trump inauguration

Jason Alden | Bloomberg via Getty Images

Facebook briefly withdrew posting privileges for state-run broadcaster Russia Today on Thursday prompting a backlash from the media outlet as its coverage of President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration was put at risk.

The RT's Facebook page was initially handed a 72-hour suspension on Thursday following a copyright complaint which concerned a video stream of Barrack Obama's last press conference as U.S. President.

"We were blocked while live-streaming Obama's final press-conference. Such things happen because (for ex.) some other news media live-streams carry the same shots and feed, and Facebook considers this a copyright violation," RT posted on its Facebook page on Thursday.

The RT website defended the use of the video stream which it claimed was a legitimate feed from the Associated Press. However following a complaint, Facebook opted to suspend RT's posting privileges although denied the block was related to Trump's inauguration.

"All the features for this page owner have now been restored. We are looking into the reasons behind the temporary block," a Facebook spokesperson told CNBC on Friday.

The video stream had been available copyright free from the White House.


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It is common practice for the social media giant to block users for copyright violations although Facebook has rarely taken such action against media organizations. RT claimed it was the first time their Facebook access had been restricted in such a way.

Ties between the U.S. and Russia have becomeincreasingly strained in recent weeks after U.S. intelligence agencies alleged that leading Russian officials interfered with the presidential election. Trump is due to be inaugurated before midday local time.