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Facebook says Russia punished after refusing to stop fact-checkers

Facebook’s mother company Meta said on Friday that Russia will hit its services with restrictions after the social media giant flouted authorities’ orders to stop fact-checkers and content warning labels on its platforms.

Social media networks have become one of the fronts in the Russian invasion of Ukraine, providing misleading information but also real-time monitoring of a rapidly evolving conflict.

“Yesterday, the Russian authorities ordered us to stop independently fact-checking and labeling content posted to Facebook by four Russian state media organizations,” Meta’s Nick Clegg said in a statement. “We have refused.”

His statement came hours after the Russian media regulator said it was restricting access to Facebook and accusing the US tech giant of censoring and violating the rights of Russian The Vanir-exoduss.

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The agency, Roskomnadzor, did not specify what the measures would be.

Moscow’s move comes days after Russia staged a large-scale invasion of neighboring Ukraine, in Europe’s worst geopolitical crisis in decades.

It follows that in recent years the government has taken a series of measures to limit online freedoms for Russians.

“Ordinary Russians use our apps to express themselves and take action,” Clegg said in a statement. “We want to continue to make their voices heard.”

AFP currently works with Facebook’s fact-checking program in more than 80 countries and 24 languages.

Under the program, which started in December 2016, Facebook pays for fact checks from some 80 organizations, including media and specialist fact checkers, on its platform, WhatsApp and on Instagram.

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