Russia blocks access to Facebook

Russian officials have blocked Facebook in the country, though Instagram and WhatsApp are still available. Telecom regulator Roskomnadzor says the move is in response to the social network preventing access to state-run media outlets RT and Sputnik in the European Union, Ukraine and the UK. Meta has demoted content from Russian state-owned media organizations on Facebook and Instagram on a global basis too.

The regulator says Facebook also limited access to accounts from other media organizations, which it claims violates Russian laws.

“Soon, millions of ordinary Russians will find themselves cut off from reliable information, deprived of their everyday ways of connecting with family and silenced from speaking out,” Nick Clegg, Meta’s president of global affairssaid in a statement. “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 organize for action.”

Roskomnadzor previously restricted access to Facebook. After Russia invaded Ukraine, the regulator asked Meta to stop fact-checking content posted by four state-owned media outlets and remove the labels it applied to their Facebook posts, but the company refused.

Other tech platforms have blocked Russian state-run outlets or made it harder to see their content over the past week. Those include YouTube, Reddit, Spotify and Roku. Meanwhile, the EU banned RT and Sputnik from being broadcast in the bloc.

Update 3/4 1:55 PM ET: Added Clegg’s statement.

Update 3/4 2:33 PM ET: Noted that the ban does not cover Instagram or WhatsApp.

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