Meta restricts Russian state media access to Facebook in Ukraine

The company recently demonetized the accounts of those same organizations.

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Igor Bonifacic
February 27, 2022 4:42 PM
Facebook app is seen on a smartphone in this illustration taken, July 13, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration
Dado Ruvic / reuters

At the behest of the country's government, Meta took its most significant action yet against Russian state media organizations amid the ongoing invasion of Ukraine. On Sunday, Nick Clegg, the company’s recently promoted president of global affairs, said Meta was restricting some Russian accounts within the war-torn nation.

“We have been in contact with the government of Ukraine, and at their request we have also restricted access to several accounts in Ukraine, including those belonging to some Russian state media organizations,” said Clegg. We’ve reached out to Meta to ask the company to clarify how it’s restricting those accounts.

Clegg noted Ukraine also asked Meta to limit Russia’s access to Facebook and Instagram. For the time being, the company denied that request, claiming people in the country have used its platforms to organize anti-war protests and access independent information. “We believe turning off our services would silence important expression at a crucial time,” he said.

This most recent move comes after Meta blocked Russian state media outlets from accessing its advertising platform or using other monetization features. Russia’s Roskomnadzor telecom regulator threatened to throttle and restrict access to Facebook after company officials declined to stop fact-checking state-backed media organizations on the platform. Clegg said on Sunday the company would continue to label and fact-check content from those outlets. He also confirmed, following reports from internet monitoring organization NetBlocks, that the Russian government had started restricting access to its social networks.

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Meta restricts Russian state media access to Facebook in Ukraine