Russia has explained the rationale behind its ban on Facebook and Twitter. Amid a crackdown on demonstrators and independent media outlets, the Kremlin blocked access to both services on Friday.
Russian telecommunications regulator, Roskomnadzor, said the decision to block Facebook was made in response to the platform’s alleged “discrimination” against Russian media, citing 26 cases since October 2020, when best uk online casino sites were still developing.
“Since October 2020, there have been 26 cases of discrimination against Russian media and information resources by Facebook,” the state censorship body said.
Early Friday evening, Meta released another statement announcing advertisers in Russia would be cut off from Facebook: “Despite the Russian government’s announcement that they will be blocking Facebook, we are working to keep our services available to the greatest extent possible. However, due to the difficulties of operating in Russia at this time, ads targeting people in Russia will be paused, and advertisers within Russia will no longer be able to create or run ads anywhere in the world, including within Russia.”
Twitter confirmed that it had also been restricted for some people in the country. Meanwhile, Roskomnadzor has also shut down big local liberal outlets such as Echo of Moscow and TV Rain, while some websites have been blocked, including the BBC.
The BBC also said it had temporarily suspended work in Russia following a new law that threatened jail for anyone that allegedly spread disinformation about the armed forces. CNN and Bloomberg News announced similar decisions.
Nick Clegg, Facebook’s president of global affairs, said in a statement: “Soon millions of ordinary Russians will find themselves cut off from reliable information, deprived of their everyday ways of connecting with family and friends and silenced from speaking out.”
He added that the company would do “everything we can to restore our services” to allow users to express themselves and “organise for action”.
The ban did not reference Meta’s photo sharing app Instagram or messaging app WhatsApp, which so far appear to be unaffected, according to Facebook.
Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said the administration of Joe Biden was “deeply concerned” about the Kremlin’s decision to ban Facebook, calling it “part of their effort to cut off a range of information from their public”.
Big Tech platforms, which cast themselves as politically neutral but committed to democratic free speech, have increasingly been dragged into geopolitical debates. Since Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine, they have become part of a battle for influence given their position as gatekeepers to information seen by billions of consumers.
Over the past year, Russia has regularly wielded the threat of penalties such as fines and slowing or shutting access to the platforms to get the companies to restore or restrict content, and has issued numerous fines to Facebook. Those restrictions have intensified sharply since the outbreak of the conflict late last month. It might only be a matter of time before best online casino sites are blocked in the country.
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, the Kremlin has added over 5,000 websites to its “denylist,” according to the research and security firm Top 10 VPN. While some banned websites include routine regulation, over 80 news outlets and 30 financial sites have been stripped of access since February 24th.
Simon Migliano, head of research for Top 10 VPN, told CBS News that Russia has recently been focused on shutting down Russian-language news. “There was a big push just after the invasion,” Migliano told CBS News.