Facebook to ‘restrict access’ to Russian state media RT and Sputnik in EU

Facebook says it is “restricting access” to Russian state media RT and Sputnik News for European Union users, citing a request from European leaders, who seek to crack down on Russian disinformation.

“We have received requests from a number of governments and the EU to take additional action regarding Russian state-controlled media,” Meta Vice President for Global Affairs Nick Clegg said. in a press release. Tweeter Monday.

“Given the exceptional nature of the current situation, we will restrict access to RT and Sputnik across the EU for the time being,” he added.

In addition to Facebook, Meta also owns Instagram and WhatsApp. However, Meta has yet to specify what restricted access will actually look like.

The day before, the European Commission had announced that it would ban the “Kremlin media machine” in the EU for spreading alleged disinformation about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to Internet users on the continent.

“The state-owned companies Russia Today and Sputnik, as well as their subsidiaries, will no longer be able to spread their lies to justify Putin’s war and sow division in our Union,” Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a speech. “So we are developing tools to ban their toxic and harmful misinformation in Europe.”

RT’s Facebook page.

On the same day, the Prime Ministers of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland sent letters to the biggest social media companies, demanding that they comply with new restrictions banning RT, Sputnik and other Russian state media from using their services in the EU.

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In addition, the letter calls on US tech companies to “proactively” suspend accounts that engage in the justification or glorification of wars of aggression, and also shut down social media accounts belonging to government institutions and corporations. responsible for Russia and its ally Belarus.

“It’s time for Big Tech companies to seriously join the fight against war propaganda and disinformation,” tweeted Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas. We’ve reached out to Twitter and Google, which owns YouTube, for comment, and we’ll update if we get back to you. Meanwhile, Twitter announced a new policy to highlight tweets containing links to Russian state media websites.

The goal is to make it easy for Twitter users to see that the link is from state-owned media. “As people search Twitter for credible information regarding the Russian invasion of Ukraine, we understand and take our role seriously,” said Yoel Roth, Hide of Site Integrity, at the company. noted. “Our product should make it easy to understand who is behind the content you see, and what their motivations and intentions are.”

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