During the invasion of Ukraine, Russia has restricted access to Facebook due to the platform’s stance on the accounts of various Moscow-backed news sources.
Roskomnadzor, Russia’s communications regulator, accused the network of “restriction” and “violation of Russian residents’ rights and freedoms.” Facebook has refused to halt fact-checking and labeling information from state-owned news organizations, according to the company. The decision was made just one day after Russia launched an invasion on Ukraine. The exact limits are unclear, as is the extent to which Facebook’s parent company Meta’s other platforms – WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram – are affected.
The regulator had asked that Facebook remove the limits it imposed on official news agency RIA, state television channel Zvezda, and pro-Kremlin news sites Lenta.Ru and Gazeta.Ru on Thursday. Meta had “ignored” these pleas, according to the report. Russian authorities “directed us to discontinue the independent fact-checking and labeling” of the outlets’ content, according to Sir Nick Clegg, vice-president of global affairs at Meta.
He stated, “We declined.”
However, he stated emphatically that Russians should continue to use Meta’s platforms. “Regular Russians are using our apps to express themselves and organize for action,” Sir Nick said, adding that the business wants “their voices to be heard.” Many state-owned Russian media outlets have created a mostly positive picture of Russian military advances in Ukraine, describing the invasion as a “special military operation” forced on Moscow. Meta announced on Thursday that it has established a “special operations center” to monitor content related to the Ukraine war.
VK and Odnoklassniki, Russia’s Facebook analogues, are popular in the nation, but Facebook is also popular, as is Meta-owned Instagram. Senator Mark Warner of the United States said on Friday that Facebook, YouTube, and other social media platforms have a “clear obligation to guarantee that your products are not used to promote human rights violations.” Meta has been under pressure to label falsehoods, and has collaborated with third-party fact-checkers such as Reuters.
Moscow has also stepped up its pressure on local news outlets, threatening to ban reports that include “false material” about its invasion of Ukraine. Twitter’s safety and integrity teams are also “disrupting attempts to disseminate incorrect and misleading information and enhance the speed and scale of our enforcement,” according to the BBC.
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