Invasion of Ukraine: Russia completely blocks Facebook and restricts access to Twitter | Science and technology news
Facebook has been blocked in Russia by the country’s communications regulator, and access to Twitter has also been restricted amid tensions surrounding the war in Ukraine.
Roskomnadzor said his decision about Facebook was in response to allegedly limited access to Facebook Russian Media on the social media platform.
According to the regulator, there have been 26 cases of discrimination against Russian media by Facebook since October 2020, with access limited to state-backed news outlets such as RT, Sputnik, RIA, the Defense Ministry’s Zvezda TV and websites gazeta.ru and lenta.ru.
The Interfax news agency reported that Twitter had also been completely blocked, but Roskomnadzor had only confirmed “restricted access” so far.
US ‘deep concerned’ by Russian decision
The US said it was “deeply concerned” by the Russian move and said it was part of broader attempts to block its citizens from receiving information.
“This is part of their effort … to cut off a range of information from its public domain,” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.
“We are deeply concerned about this and concerned about the threat to freedom of expression in the country.”
Facebook’s forced withdrawal from Russia came hours later Microsoft has announced that it will suspend all new sales of its products and services in Russiaas well as gaming giant Electronic Arts – the makers of the FIFA football series.
Ukraine invasion – live updates
Meta operates Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. Meta’s President for Global Affairs Sir Nick Clegg said the company would continue to do everything it could to restore its services.
In response to the regulator’s decision, he tweeted: “Soon millions of ordinary Russians will be cut off from reliable information, deprived of their day-to-day opportunities to connect with family and friends, and prevented from speaking out.
“We will continue to do everything we can to restore our services so that they continue to be available for people to express themselves and take action safely and securely.”
Last Friday, Moscow said it partially restricts access to Facebooka move the company said came after it rejected a government request to halt independent fact-checking by several Russian state media outlets.
By Saturday, Twitter also said its service was limited to some Russian users.
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine More than a week ago, tech giants were under pressure to respond to the offensive, which the Kremlin is calling a “special operation.”
Governments have imposed economic sanctions on Moscow, and Meta said in recent days it has restricted access to RT and Sputnik across the EU and content from Facebook pages and Instagram accounts of Russian state-controlled outlets, as well as posts with links to those outlets worldwide to downgrade to Facebook.
now Facebook and Instagram are blocking RT and Sputnik for UK users at the request of the UK government.
A letter from Secretary of State for Culture Nadine Dorries follows, in which she urges this Meta, tick tockand Twitter restricting access to Russian state organizations, which she accused of spreading “harmful propaganda in Britain”.
“I urge you to do everything in your power to implement the approach you are taking across the EU to block access to both RT and Sputnik’s online edition on your UK services,” said Mrs. Dorries.
A Meta spokesman told Sky News: “Earlier this week we announced that we will be restricting access to RT and Sputnik across the EU.”
“In line with this measure, and at the request of the UK Government, we will also be restricting access to RT and Sputnik in the UK at this time,” they added.
In response to Meta’s move, Ms Dorries tweeted: “Thank you to Meta for heeding my call to remove RT and Sputnik from their platforms in the UK. It is important that we do everything we can to combat the propaganda pushed by Putin’s Russia.”
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced the EU’s sanctions on the “Kremlin’s media machine” on Sunday, saying: “The state-owned companies Russia Today and Sputnik and their subsidiaries will no longer be able to spread their lies in order to to justify Putin’s war.”
YouTube made the decision earlier this week block access to RT and Sputnik across Europe and in the UK at the same time.
Twitter and TikTok have yet to respond to Ms Dorries’ request.