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Russia Blocks Access to Facebook

The social media company refused to comply with Russia's demand that it stop fact-checking state media

russia plans to ban facebook social media ukraine invasion media censorship
Facebook, photo by Solen Feyissa
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    Russia plans to ban Facebook within the country, according to a statement by Russian communications regulator Roskomnadzo. Facebook had refused to comply with Russia’s demand that it stop fact-checking state media.

    Roskomnadzo’s statement (translated via The Verge) cites 26 cases of “discrimination against Russian media and information resources by Facebook” since October 2020. It also accused the social media platform of violating federal law by restricting access to state media outlets.

    This news arrives on the heels of Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine. Since the war broke out last week, fleets of Russians have gathered in the streets to protest the invasion, and thousands have been arrested. While President Vladimir Putin has denied plans to institute martial law, the regime has threatened to block media sites — particularly Wikipedia — for publishing facts that would paint Russia’s leadership in a negative light. Last week, Russia also throttled Twitter.

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    Earlier today, Russia’s legislature advanced a new law against spreading “fake news” about the country’s armed forces. Doing so would be punishable by up to 15 years in prison. The BBC has since announced that they would suspend coverage within the country.

    This is one of many recent attempts Russia has made to censor media since the invasion began. Earlier this week, Netflix announced that they would ignore a new Russian law that requires media platforms to carry state propaganda channels.

    In support of Ukraine, Live Nation and Spotify both ceased business in Russia this week, while artists including Green Day, Nick Cave, and Iggy Pop have all canceled Russian tour dates.

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