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Image courtesy of YouTube

Russia's mass communications regulator, known as Roskomnadzor, has threatened to block its citizens from accessing YouTube and Instagram over the release of videos alleging a link between the Kremlin and a Russian oligarch affiliated with Paul Manafort, reports Mother Jones.

Why it matters: Russia's internet providers don't have the ability to block specific URLs, meaning that the entire country risks losing access to the platforms if the original publishers don't take the videos down by Feb. 14.

The backdrop: Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny published a 25-minute video to YouTube Thursday that reportedly showed two men on a yacht — Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Sergey Prikhodko and oligarch Oleg Deripaska, who employed Paul Manafort in the mid-2000s — discussing US-Russia relations in the presence of female escorts. Deripaska denied Navalny's claim that it was "a secret meeting" and sued for violation of privacy.

  • Roskomnadzor has also ordered the blacklisting of six other YouTube videos and 14 Instagram posts related to the original tape. As of Tuesday, Navalny and at least one other publisher had not yet complied.
  • YouTube did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Large coronavirus outbreaks leading to high death rates — Coronavirus cases are at an all-time high ahead of Election Day — U.S. tops 88,000 COVID-19 cases, setting new single-day record.
  2. Politics: States beg for Warp Speed billions.
  3. World: Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases.
  4. 🎧Podcast: The vaccine race turns toward nationalism.

Technical glitch in Facebook's ad tools creates political firestorm

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Photo: SOPA Images / Contributor

Facebook said late Thursday that a mix of "technical problems" and confusion among advertisers around its new political ad ban rules caused issues affecting ad campaigns of both parties.

Why it matters: A report out Thursday morning suggested the ad tools were causing campaign ads, even those that adhered to Facebook's new rules, to be paused. Very quickly, political campaigners began asserting the tech giant was enforcing policies in a way that was biased against their campaigns.

6 hours ago - Health

States beg for Warp Speed billions

A COVID-19 drive-thru testing center yesterday at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. Photo: David Santiago/Miami Herald via AP

Operation Warp Speed has an Achilles' heel: States need billions to distribute vaccines — and many say they don't have the cash.

Why it matters: The first emergency use authorization could come as soon as next month, but vaccines require funding for workers, shipping and handling, and for reserving spaces for vaccination sites.