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Facebook criticized by Russia for blocking news agency posts

FILE PHOTO: A 3D-printed Facebook logo is seen placed on a keyboard in this illustration taken March 25, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration


Russia accused Facebook on Monday of violating citizens’ rights by blocking certain media content in the latest standoff between a government and Big Tech. Communications watchdog Roskomnadzor threatened Facebook over the weekend with a minimum fine of 1 million rubles (around 10 lakhs) and demanded that it restore access to content posted by the media agency. press TASS, the business daily RBC and the newspaper Vzglyad.

He said Facebook had blocked posts relating to Russia’s detention of suspected supporters of a Ukrainian far-right group. “I think this is unacceptable.It violates our national legislation,” said Vyacheslav Volodin, chairman of the lower house of the Russian parliament and member of the ruling United Russia party of President Vladimir Putin.

In a statement, Volodin said Facebook had violated fundamental rights to disseminate and receive information and that legislation would be proposed to preserve Russia’s “digital sovereignty”. Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Like other countries, including Australia in a high-profile dispute with Facebook and India in a dispute with Twitter, Russia has taken steps in recent months to regulate and reduce the power of large social media companies.

Bills passed in December allow Russia to impose heavy fines on platforms that fail to remove banned content and restrict access to U.S. social media companies if they are found to discriminate against Russian media. “They operate in our environment, but at the same time, they often do not obey any Russian law,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told RIA on Monday.

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