Mar 4, 2022 - World

Russia blocks access to Facebook

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Photo: Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Russia's communications regulator Roskomnadzor on Friday said it would block Facebook entirely, after partially restricting the social network a week ago.

Why it matters: Russia claims the decision of Facebook parent company Meta to restrict access to Russian state media accounts violated "fundamental human rights and freedoms, as well as the rights and freedoms of Russian citizens."

Driving the news: In a blog post Friday, Roskomnadzor said Facebook restricted the Zvezda TV channel, the RIA Novosti news agency, Sputnik, Russia Today, the Lenta.ru and Gazeta.ru information resources.

  • Russia says its laws prohibit efforts to prevent users access to Russian media on foreign Internet platforms.

What they're saying: Meta's president of global affairs said in a statement Friday that "soon millions of ordinary Russians will find themselves cut off from reliable information, deprived of their everyday ways of connecting with family and friends and silence from speaking out."

  • We will continue to do everything we can to restore our services so they remain available to people to safely and securely express themselves and organize for action," Clegg added.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday that the Biden administration is "deeply concerned ... about the threat to freedom of speech" in Russia and the "crack down on any form of information being shared with their public."

Catch up quick: Tech companies have been increasingly limiting the reach of Russian state media.

  • Meta restricted access to Russian state media on its platforms across the EU earlier this week after the European Commission said it will ban "the Kremlin's media machine.
  • It also began demoting content linking to Russian state media outlets on Facebook and Instagram globally.
  • Several companies, including Google, Meta, Twitter, Microsoft, and others have complied with the Russian state media ban in the region and have restricted Russian state media from buying ads globally.

The big picture: Friday's move is part of a greater effort by Russia to silence dissent amid protests against the country's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

  • Russian lawmakers on Friday approved legislation that threatens to imprison journalists and individuals for up to 15 years if they publish what Moscow deems to be "fake" information about Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

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