Russia has reportedly restricted its citizens’ access to Facebook in the country amidst Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine, a sovereign country. This was after the social media giant reportedly refused to stop fact-checking and labelling content from state-owned news organisations.
Russia’s communications regulator Roskomnadzor, according to the BBC, accused Facebook of ‘censorship’ and violating ‘the rights and freedoms of Russian citizens.’
According to reports, Facebook had imposed restrictions on state-owned news sources such as RIA, state TV channel Zvezda, and pro-Kremlin news sites Lenta.Ru and Gazeta.Ru in the wake of Russia’s military invasion on Ukraine. The Russian government wanted these restrictions revoked.
Former British Deputy Prime Minister Sir Nick Clegg, who’s now working as a vice-president of global affairs at Meta, said that Russian authorities had ordered the platform to ‘stop the independent fact-checking and labelling’ the outlets’ content.
“We refused,” Clegg was quoted as saying.
Urging Russians to continue to use Facebook, Clegg said, “Ordinary Russians are using our apps to express themselves and organise for action”, Sir Nick said, and the company wants “them to continue to make their voices heard.”
Russia has been facing global condemnation for attacking Ukraine on Thursday. Scores of people including soldiers have reportedly been killed in the Russian attack.
Several sports bodies have decided to punish Russia by cancelling major events scheduled to take place in the country this year. The Uefa stripped Russia of this year’s Champions League final, while the F1 has cancelled Russian Grand Prix, scheduled to take place in Sochi in September. Vladimir Putin, who was instrumental in bringing the event to Russia, has a palace in Sochi.