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Russia partially blocks Facebook for fact-checking state-owned media

Facebook refused to stop fact-checking four Russian news outlets

Illustration by Kristen Radtke / The Verge

The Russian government has partially blocked access to Facebook in the country after it claims the social network “restricted” the accounts of four Russian media outlets.

In a statement on Friday, Russia’s tech and communications regulator, Roskomnadzor, said Facebook was violating “the rights and freedoms of Russian citizens,” and that it had recorded 23 cases of “censorship” by the social network since October 2020.

“On February 24, Roskomnadzor sent requests to the administration of Meta Platforms, Inc. [to] remove the restrictions imposed by the social network Facebook on Russian media and explain the reason for their introduction,” the Russian regulator said, adding that Meta “ignored” its requests. It’s unclear what Roskomnadzor’s partial restrictions against Facebook mean or if the government is also somehow blocking access to Meta-owned WhatsApp in the country.

In response to Roskomnadzor’s statement, Meta’s president of global affairs, Nick Clegg, confirmed that the company declined to comply with the government’s requests to “stop fact-checking and labelling of content posted on Facebook by four Russian state-owned media organizations.”

“We refused,” Clegg said in a tweet. “As a result, they have announced they will be restricting the use of our services.”

Update at 11:15 AM PST: Added response from Meta exec Nick Clegg.