TECH: Meta limits Russian state media access to Facebook in Ukraine

March 1, 2022, 2:59 am

At the request of the coun­try’s gov­ern­ment, Meta has tak­en its most sig­nif­i­cant action to date against Russ­ian state media amid the ongo­ing inva­sion of Ukraine. On Sun­day, Nick Clegg, the com­pa­ny’s recent­ly pro­mot­ed pres­i­dent of glob­al affairs, said Meta was restrict­ing cer­tain Russ­ian accounts in the war-torn nation.

“We’ve been in con­tact with the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment and, at their request, we’ve also restrict­ed access to sev­er­al accounts in Ukraine, includ­ing those belong­ing to some Russ­ian state media,” Clegg said. We con­tact­ed Meta to ask the com­pa­ny to clar­i­fy how it is restrict­ing these accounts.

Clegg not­ed that Ukraine had also asked Meta to restrict Russ­ian access to Face­book and Insta­gram. For now, the com­pa­ny has reject­ed that request, say­ing that peo­ple in the coun­try have used its plat­forms to orga­nize anti-war protests and access inde­pen­dent infor­ma­tion. “We believe that dis­abling our ser­vices would silence impor­tant expres­sion at a cru­cial time,” it said.

The most recent deci­sion comes after Meta blocked Russ­ian state media from access­ing its adver­tis­ing plat­form or using oth­er mon­e­ti­za­tion fea­tures. Russ­ian tele­com reg­u­la­tor Roskom­nad­zor threat­ened to throt­tle and restrict access to Face­book after com­pa­ny offi­cials refused to stop fact-check­ing state-backed media orga­ni­za­tions on the platform.

 Clegg said Sun­day that the com­pa­ny would con­tin­ue to tag and ver­i­fy con­tent from these out­lets. He also con­firmed, fol­low­ing reports from Inter­net watch­dog orga­ni­za­tion Net­Blocks, that the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment has begun restrict­ing access to its social networks.

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