Facebook rejected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zalensky’s request to block Russia. Meta said last February it would restrict Russian state media outlets in Ukraine. The move was said to be in response to a personal request by the Ukrainian president.
In a letter Zalenskyy wrote to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg, Zalenskyy asked Meta to stop Russian state news organizations posting on Facebook. Zalenskyy also asked Meta to suspend Facebook and Instagram from Russia, but Meta refused.
Zuckerberg or Sandberg did not respond to the Ukrainian President’s request. But Meta’s vice president for global affairs Nick Clegg has taken over the policy on the matter.
Clegg keeps Zalenskyy updated on information about Meta’s efforts to help Ukraine in the conflict with the Red Bear country.
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Russia has continued to invade Ukraine since late February. As a result of the attack, a number of technology companies restricted their operations in Russia.
Social media companies such as Facebook and Twitter are faced with tackling challenging content moderation decisions around events of friction between the two countries.
Facebook started checking Russian state media posts. According to Politico, several Russian media outlets have posted stories on Facebook and Twitter containing false claims of Ukrainian military forces launching unprovoked attacks against allied forces of Russia.
Facebook has also blocked Russian government-backed media outlets from its advertising platforms, as has Google’s YouTube.
Facebook and YouTube are currently known to be intensively deleting audio and video files that are scattered on their platforms, regarding the viral video of Zalenskyy announcing his surrender to Russia.
Deletion was also carried out on videos that had been uploaded by a number of netizens.
Russia considers Google and YouTube to carry out ‘terrorist’ activities
Russian regulators on Friday accused US tech giants Google and YouTube of carrying out “terrorist” activities. The accusations were made as a first step towards a possible access ban
“The activities of the YouTube administration are terrorist in nature and threaten the lives and health of Russian citizens,” Russian media regulator Roskomnadzor said, quoted by AFP from the Interfax news agency.
The watchdog also put a spotlight on YouTube users who spread calls for the closure of Russian and Belarusian lines of communication.
Not only that, Roskomnadzor also stated that Google is a company that is openly anti-Russian. As a result, the watchdog demanded the US company “stop broadcasting anti-Russian videos as soon as possible.”
Russia is one of the most restrictive countries on press freedom and freedom of expression. The situation has worsened in the last few weeks since operations in Ukraine began on Thursday (24/2).
In early March 2022, Russia filed a criminal case against Meta on charges of allowing the posting of calls for the killing of Russians, as well as violent content from Russian troops amid its invasion of Ukraine.
The Russian Investigative Committee reports directly to Russian President Vladimir Putin, a criminal case has been initiated against Meta for allowing content deemed illegal.
Russia has also blocked access to other tech giants, such as Facebook. Twitter, and Instagram. Earlier this week (14/3), Russia officially blocked Instagram so that access for 80 million users in the country was closed.
“This decision will close access to 80 million people in Russia from each other, and from the rest of the world because 80 percent of people in Russia follow Instagram accounts outside their country. This is wrong,” Instagram boss Adam Mosseri said on his Twitter account.
Meanwhile, the Russian news agency said WhatsApp would not be restricted because it is considered a communication tool, not for sending information.
Russian negotiators reveal agreed dialogue points and still deadlock
Russia’s top negotiator, Vladimir Medinsky, said his side had made progress on the topic of demilitarization in talks with Ukraine, but was still stuck on denazification talks.
During the 22 days after Russia invaded Ukraine, and after a series of talks in person and via video link, Medinsky said the two countries were “halfway” on the Ukraine issue to adopt a neutral status.
“On denazification, the situation is quite strange because our Ukrainian colleagues on the other hand think there is no Nazi formation in Ukraine and this is not a problem in modern Ukraine,” he said.
However Medinsky said Russia would continue to raise the issue in talks. He said the Ukrainians were hiding “permitted Nazi military formations” with their own symbolism, training and ideology.