Tech

Russia partially restricts Facebook access, accusing it of censoring some state-run media

Key Points
  • Russia's media regulator said Friday it would move to "partially restrict access" to Facebook.
  • The regulator claimed Facebook had limited official accounts of four Russian media outlets, according to a statement translated from Russian to English.
  • The agency said it "has recorded 23 cases of such censorship of Russian media and internet resources by Facebook" since October 2020.
Facebook Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before the House Financial Services Committee on "An Examination of Facebook and Its Impact on the Financial Services and Housing Sectors" in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, DC on October 23, 2019.
MANDEL NGAN | AFP | Getty Images

Russia's media regulator said Friday it would move to "partially restrict access" to Facebook after it said the platform had limited official accounts of four Russian media outlets, according to a statement translated from Russian to English.

The regulator, Roskomnadzor, claimed Facebook had "restricted the official accounts" of four Russian media outlets that are state-owned or state-affiliated: Zvezda TV channel, RIA Novosti news agency, Lenta.ru and Gazeta.ru.

Roskomnadzor said Facebook's actions violated federal law and that its owner, Meta, ignored a request from the agency to remove the restrictions.

The agency added that it "has recorded 23 cases of such censorship of Russian media and internet resources by Facebook" since October 2020.

Roskomnadzor said its actions followed an agreement by the Prosecutor General's Office and Ministry of Foreign Affairs "to recognize the social network Facebook as involved in the violation of fundamental human rights and freedoms, as well as the rights and freedoms of Russian citizens."

It was not immediately clear what the restrictions would entail. A spokesperson for the Russian embassy in Washington, D.C., did not immediately respond to a request for more details.

In a statement posted to Twitter, Meta VP of Global Affairs Nick Clegg said that Russian authorities had ordered the company on Thursday to stop fact-checking and labelling content on Facebook posted by the state-owned media outlets. When Meta refused, Russia announced the restrictions of its service.

Clegg said Meta hopes for Russian people to continue to be able "to make their voices heard, share what's happening, and organize through Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger."

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