Russia demands Facebook unblock foreign ministry-linked page

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The Facebook page, which is affiliated to Russia’s foreign ministry, was taken down on Friday for publishing 'illegal content'.— Reuters pic
Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - The Facebook page, which is affiliated to Russia’s foreign ministry, was taken down on Friday for publishing 'illegal content'.— Reuters pic

MOSCOW, Jan 17 — Russia’s media regulator has demanded that Facebook “immediately” lift all restrictions on the official page of the country’s delegation for arms control talks in Vienna.

The Facebook page, which is affiliated to Russia’s foreign ministry, was taken down on Friday for publishing “illegal content”, according to delegation head Konstantin Gavrilov.

Media watchdog Roskomnadzor said Sunday evening that it has sent a letter to Meta, Facebook’s parent company, “with the demand to immediately lift all restrictions” from the Facebook page and “explain the reasons for introducing them”.

“Such actions of the administration of the Facebook social network violate the key principles of free distribution of information,” Roskomnadzor said.

The regulator added that it considers this an “act of censorship”. 

The page was still unavailable on Monday morning. 

Gavrilov told state news agency TASS on Sunday that the delegation uses the Facebook page to post statements from Russia’s leadership or the foreign ministry.

“This is a blatant act of censorship in the information space,” Gavrilov said in a statement on Twitter, requesting support from the Vienna-based Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe. 

In February 2021, the delegation’s account on Twitter had also been temporarily blocked, TASS reported.

Russia has repeatedly fined US tech giants, including Meta, for ignoring content moderation requests as the country ramps up its control of internet platforms. 

In December, Meta was slapped with its largest fine yet—the equivalent of US$27 million (RM113 million) —for repeatedly failing to delete illegal content. — AFP

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