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Facebook-Parent Meta to Block Access to Russia’s RT, Sputnik in EU Amid Ukraine Crisis

Meta, Microsoft, and Google have taken measures to restrict Russian state media from making money from advertisements.

Facebook-Parent Meta to Block Access to Russia’s RT, Sputnik in EU Amid Ukraine Crisis

Meta will restrict access to Russian state media outlets RT and Sputnik on its platforms across the EU

Highlights
  • EU said Sunday it would ban Russian RT and Sputnik
  • Twitter said on Monday it would label and restrict visibility of tweets
  • Meta received requests from a number of governments

Meta, parent company of Facebook, will restrict access to Russian state media outlets RT and Sputnik on its platforms across the European Union, the company's head of global affairs said on Monday. The company has announced that it will globally demote Facebook and Instagram content from Russian state-controlled media outlets, the company stated. 

Nick Clegg said in a Twitter post that the social media company received requests from a number of governments and the EU to take steps in relation to Russian state-controlled media on its platforms. Clegg said Meta would continue to work closely with governments on the issue. "In addition to restricting access to RT and Sputnik across the EU, we are now globally demoting content from Facebook Pages and Instagram accounts from Russian state-controlled media outlets and making them harder to find across our platforms," Nick Clegg, President, Global Affairs, Meta, said in an update.

In addition to restricting access to RT and Sputnik across the EU, we are now globally demoting content from Facebook Pages and Instagram accounts from Russian state-controlled media outlets and making them harder to find across our platforms.

We have also begun to demote posts that contain links to Russian state-controlled media websites on Facebook. In the days ahead, we will label these links and provide more information to people before they share or click on them to let them know that they lead to Russian state-controlled media websites. We plan on putting similar measures in place on Instagram.

We already label Facebook Pages and Instagram accounts from Russian state-controlled media outlets so people know where this information comes from. By providing this additional transparency, we aim to give people more context if they want to share direct links to Russian state-controlled media websites or when others see someone's post that contains a link to one of these sites. 

The European Union said on Sunday it would ban Russian state-owned television network RT and news agency Sputnik. Canadian telecoms operators have also stopped offering the RT channel.

Russian state-run media's activity on social media platforms has emerged as a contentious issue for big tech companies during the country's invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow calls a "special operation."

Meta, Microsoft, and Alphabet's Google and YouTube have taken measures in recent days to restrict Russian state media from making money from ads on their platforms. Twitter banned RT and Sputnik from advertising on its site in 2017.

Twitter said on Monday it would label and restrict the visibility of tweets containing content from Russian state-affiliated media outlets, in an expansion of its policy to label the state media accounts.

© Thomson Reuters 2022


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