Russia Will Restrict Access To Facebook Over Alleged ‘Censorship’

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Ailan Evans Deputy Editor
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A Russian regulator said Friday that the country would partially limit access to Facebook in response to the tech giant’s alleged restricting of Russian media accounts.

Roskomnadzor, Russia’s internet and communications regulator, announced the restrictions on its Telegram channel Friday. (RELATED: Russia Deploys ‘Data-Wiping Malware’ To Cripple Ukrainian Government Systems)

“On 24 February, the social network Facebook (of Meta Platforms, Inc.) restricted the official accounts of four Russian media outlets: Zvezda TV channel, RIA Novosti news agency, and Internet sites,” the regulator said, adding that such actions are “violations of the fundamental human rights and freedoms, rights and freedoms of citizens of the Russian Federation.”

The regulator said it asked Facebook to lift the restrictions but that the tech giant did not respond. Roskomnadzor also claimed it had recorded 23 instances of similar “censorship” by Facebook of Russian accounts since October 2020.

Photo taken on October 18, 2021 in Moscow shows the US online social media and social networking service Facebook's logo on a tablet screen. - Facebook on October 18, 2021, announced plans to hire 10,000 people in the European Union to build the "metaverse", a virtual reality version of the internet that the tech giant sees as the future. (Photo by Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP) (Photo by KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP via Getty Images)

Photo taken on October 18, 2021 in Moscow shows the US online social media and social networking service Facebook’s logo on a tablet screen. (Photo by KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP via Getty Images)

“The Prosecutor General’s Office, in coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, made a decision to recognize Facebook as a social network involved in violating fundamental human rights and freedoms as well as the rights and freedoms of Russian citizens,” Roskomnadzor said.

Meta’s vice president of global affairs Nick Clegg confirmed that Facebook was restricted in Russia.

“Ordinary Russians are using @Meta’s apps to express themselves and organize for action,” Clegg tweeted. “We want them to continue to make their voices heard, share what’s happening, and organize through Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger.”

It’s unclear exactly what form the restrictions will take; Roskomnadzor did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

Roskomnadzor’s decision was precipitated by rising tensions between Russia and Facebook parent company Meta over moderation of political content; Russia has repeatedly threatened the company with fines for allegedly failing to remove banned content, including posts deemed politically extremist by the Russian government.

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