Russian authorities on Friday stopped access to Facebook, the Meta-owned social media company, claiming that the world’s largest social media business had violated Russian law by restricting online access to state-backed media.
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The decision by Russia’s media and telecommunications regulator is the latest development in a rapidly intensifying showdown between Western technology corporations and the Kremlin.
After initially delaying their response to Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine last week, Facebook’s parent corporation Meta, Google, and Twitter have now restricted access to Russian state media within the European Union. They have also deleted advertisements from Kremlin-backed media outlets and degraded their material in web searches.
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This week, Meta’s president of global relations, Nick Clegg, told reporters, “This is a highly exceptional and tragic state of affairs, which is why not only ourselves but many others in the tech sector are taking these pretty exceptional measures at this time.”
Following the announcement of the ban, former British deputy prime minister Nick Clegg stated that Russian residents would be “silenced from speaking out,” and that the corporation would strive to reconnect its services within Russia.
Social media providers have attempted to strike a balance between Western governments’ demands to remove Kremlin disinformation from their platforms and remaining accessible to Russian users in order to supply them with unbiased information about the Ukraine war.
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The Russian government has retaliated rapidly. It has restricted access to various Western social media platforms, but its complete ban on Facebook represents an increase in the Kremlin’s response to Silicon Valley’s efforts to prevent Russian misinformation from spreading.
“Since October 2020, 26 cases of discrimination against Russian media and information resources by Facebook have been recorded,” the Russian regulator, Roskomnadzor, said in a statement. “A decision was made to block access to the Facebook network in the Russian Federation.”