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Russia blocks access to Facebook after ‘fake news’ claims

Russia has blocked access to Facebook, according to the country’s state communications watchdog Roskomnadzor.

In a statement, the regulator said: “On March 4, 2022, a decision was made to block access to the Facebook network (owned by Meta Platforms, Inc) in the Russian Federation.

“Since October 2020, 26 cases of discrimination against Russian media and information resources by Facebook have been recorded.

“In recent days, the social network has restricted access to accounts: the Zvezda TV channel, the RIA Novosti news agency, Sputnik, Russia Today, the Lenta.ru and Gazeta.ru information resources.”

It comes a week after Russia limited access to Facebook after the social media provider refused to stop fact-checking and labelling content from state-owned organisations.

Sir Nick Clegg, vice president of global affairs at Facebook’s parent company Meta, said of the decision: “Soon millions of ordinary Russians will find themselves cut off from reliable information, deprived of their everyday ways of connecting with family and friends and silenced from speaking out.

“We will continue to do everything we can to restore our services so they remain available to people to safely and securely express themselves and organise for action.”

It comes after the BBC announced it is “temporarily suspending” the work of all its news journalists and support staff in Russia after authorities passed legislation cracking down on foreign outlets.

Director-general Tim Davie said the new law appeared to “criminalise the process of independent journalism” in the country.

The Russian parliament approved a law on Friday that would make it a criminal offence to spread “fake” or “false” news about the Kremlin’s war in Ukraine.

The Kremlin also accused the BBC of playing a “determined role in undermining the Russian stability and security”.

 

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