Feb 25, 2022 - Technology

Russia moves to restrict Facebook access amid Ukraine invasion

Photo by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Russia's communications regulator Roskomnadzor on Friday said it would partly restrict Facebook, citing the social network as a "violation of fundamental human rights and freedoms, as well as the rights and freedoms of Russian citizens."

Why it matters: It’s part of a greater effort by Russia to silence dissent amid protests against Russia’s Ukraine offensive.

  • Earlier this week, Roskomnadzor said media outlets could publish only information from official Russian sources, per Reuters.

Details: A message posted to Telegram from Roskomnadzor said it was moving to restrict Facebook after the company restricted accounts of four Russian media outlets, including Zvezda TV channel, RIA Novosti news agency, the Lenta.ru website and the Gazeta.ru site.

  • Roskomnadzor said such actions "are prohibited by Federal Law."

Meta, Facebook's parent company, says Russia's move is retaliation for the company's refusal to "stop the independent fact-checking and labeling of content posted on Facebook by four Russian state-owned media organizations."

  • In a Twitter post, president of global affairs Nick Clegg wrote, "Ordinary Russians are using Meta's apps to express themselves and organize for action. We want them to continue to make their voices heard, share what’s happening, and organize through Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger."

Between the lines: On Thursday, Facebook said it established a Special Operations Center to respond to the crises in real time.

  • “It is staffed by experts (including native speakers) so we can closely monitor the situation and act as fast as possible,” Facebook’s head of security policy, Nathaniel Gleicher ,tweeted.

The big picture: Russia has a history of shutting down access to the internet and social channels during political upheaval.

  • Russia pressured both Apple and Meta to remove a mobile app created by Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny last year.
  • The Kremlin also shut down websites linked to opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

Go deeper: Russian internet prepares to go solo

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional comment from Facebook.

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