‘Extremist Organization:’ Russia to Block Facebook in Country

Mark Zuckerberg frowning
Getty/Chip Somodevilla

Russia has announced plans to block Facebook in the country, claiming that the social media platform has discriminated against Russian media and information sources. The government of Russia is reportedly considering declaring Facebook an “extremist organization,” a decision driven in part by Mark Zuckerberg’s decision to allow users to call for the death of Russians.

TechCrunch reports that just one week after placing restrictions on the social media giant Facebook, the Russian government has announced that it will begin blocking the social network in the country completely. The announcement was made by Russia’s internet regulatory agency Roskomnadzor, which cited “26 cases of discrimination against Russian media and information resources” in its decision.

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks on phone (MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 10: Facebook co-founder, Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a combined Senate Judiciary and Commerce committee hearing in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill April 10, 2018 in Washington, DC. Zuckerberg, 33, was called to testify after it was reported that 87 million Facebook users had their personal information harvested by Cambridge Analytica, a British political consulting firm linked to the Trump campaign. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The agency is also reportedly considering marking the social media giant as an “extremist organization” over its speech rules.

“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,” the Russian agency wrote. “The above restrictions are prohibited by Federal Law No. 272-FZ ‘On measures to influence persons involved in violations of fundamental human rights and freedoms, the rights and freedoms of citizens of the Russian Federation,’ adopted, among other things, to prevent violations of the key principles of the free flow of information and unhindered access Russian users to Russian media on foreign Internet platforms.”

Facebook also recently modified its rules to allow for calls of violence against Russians, and also to allow for posts in support of the neo-nazi Azov Battalion, previously banned under its Dangerous Individuals and Organizations policy.

Facebook’s President of Global Affairs Nick Clegg commented on the situation in a tweet:

Tech companies across the world have been limiting Russia’s ability to distribute state-approved news and information as the invasion of Ukraine continues. The moves come as the European Commission considers a ban on the state news agencies entirely due to fears that they are spreading misinformation about the war in Ukraine.

Breitbart News recently reported that Google blocked the mobile apps of Rusia Today and Sputnik from its Play Store. The move comes shortly after Google’s decision to remove Russian state media from its news-related features.

A number of tech giants have taken action against Russian state media, with multiple platforms banning Russian media across the EU. Facebook (including Instagram), YouTube, and TikTok have completely banned Russian media outlets like Russia Today and Sputnik throughout the European Union.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address lucasnolan@protonmail.com


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