The ban comes in retaliation to the platform’s efforts “to restrict access to Russian media”.
Russian media regulator Roskomnadzor imposed a blanket ban on Meta’s Facebook social media platform on Friday. The decision was taken in response to Facebook blocking access to Russian media outlets, the watchdog said in a statement.
“Since October 2020, we have reordered 26 cases of discrimination against Russian media and information resources by Facebook,” the statement reads.
“In recent days, the social network has limited access to the accounts of the Zvezda TV channel, the RIA Novosti news agency, Sputnik, Russia Today, Lenta.ru, and the Gazeta.ru news outlets.”
Meta blocked access to accounts belonging to RT and Sputnik in the EU earlier this week, accusing the outlets of serving as a “propaganda arm.” Over the past week, Western private-owned tech giants and multiple government entities took action against Russian state-funded and state-affiliated outlets.
Google, for instance, restricted access to content by outlets owned by the government media holding Rossiya Segodnya on Google Discover and Google News. The holding blasted the move as “information manipulation.”
The renewed push against Russian state-affiliated media, which has been repeatedly targeted in the West for years already, comes amid the offensive in Ukraine that was launched by Moscow last week. Russia said it was the only option to end the bloodshed in Ukraine’s east, where the Kiev forces have been struggling with the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Lugansk for some eight years already.
Donetsk and Lugansk split from Ukraine after the 2014 Maidan coup, which ousted the country’s democratically-elected government. The new Kiev authorities launched a military operation to quell the unrest, leading to years of low-intensity warfare in the region.