Facebook is “restricting access” to two Russian state media outlets across the entire European Union, a move that will prevent the publishers from sharing content to millions of people in the countries. Meta’s President of Global Affairs, Nick Clegg, announced the block of RT and Sputnik, saying that it was in response to “a number” of government requests from within the EU.
“Given the exceptional nature of the current situation, we will be restricting access to RT and Sputnik across the EU at this time,” Clegg said. The change comes after the European Commission enacted its own ban on the outlets, and after Facebook had already blocked access to ads and other monetization features. The social network had also blocked the publications’ ability to post content inside of Ukraine.
Clegg didn't elaborate on whether "restricting access" referred simply to these accounts' ability to post and share inside of these countries, or if the accounts would be completely inaccessible in the EU. We've asked Facebook for more details.
We have received requests from a number of Governments and the EU to take further steps in relation to Russian state controlled media. Given the exceptional nature of the current situation, we will be restricting access to RT and Sputnik across the EU at this time.
— Nick Clegg (@nickclegg) February 28, 2022
The move comes as Russian State media outlets, some of which have vast social media followings, find their reach increasingly limited. Facebook and other platforms have taken more aggressive measures to tamp down the influence of Russia-backed publications in recent days as there has been a sharp rise in disinformation. Twitter announced Monday that it would label tweets from Russian state media accounts, and would try to curb their influence on the platform. YouTube has also blocked the outlets’ ability to monetize their channels.