Social Media Access Restricted In Russia Since Ukraine Invasion

The Russian government has imposed restrictions on the use of twitter in some parts of the country, the micro-blogging company has confirmed.

“We’re aware that Twitter is being restricted for some people in Russia and are working to keep our services safe and accessible”, the company said in a statement.

Following a spat over “censorship,” Russia imposed restrictions on Facebook on Friday.

Roskomnadzor, Russia’s communications regulator, accused Facebook of infringing on “Russian people’s rights and freedoms.”

Facebook has refused to halt fact-checking and labeling information from state-owned news organizations, according to the company.

NetBlocks, a company that monitors internet access, claims that Twitter is completely or nearly completely blocked in Russia.

Facebook and Instagram were not “observably restricted per our metrics, certainly not to the extent Twitter is at present”, NetBlocks said.

The activities follow Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has gone viral on social media with numerous videos and photographs.

VPN services, which can operate around government-imposed limitations, are presently available for individuals in Russia to circumvent.

“Russia’s restriction of Twitter will significantly limit the free flow of information at a time of crisis when the public most need to stay informed,” said NetBlocks Director Alp Toker.

Twitter has not been sanctioned by Roskomnadzor.

It’s unclear what the Facebook limits will include if they are imposed, or whether they will affect other Meta-owned platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram.

The Russian regulator had asked that Facebook remove the limitations it imposed on official news agency RIA, state television station Zvezda, and pro-Kremlin news sites Lenta.Ru and Gazeta.Ru on Thursday.

Meta had “ignored” these pleas, according to the report.

Russian authorities “directed us to discontinue the independent fact-checking and labelling” of the outlets’ material, according to Sir Nick Clegg, vice-president of global affairs at Meta.

“We refused,” he said.

However, he stated emphatically that Russians should continue to utilise Meta’s platforms.

“Ordinary Russians are using our apps to express themselves and organise for action”, Sir Nick said, and the company wants “them to continue to make their voices heard”.

Several Russian media sources that are owned by the state have created a mostly favourable picture of Russian military gains in Ukraine, describing the invasion as a “special military operation” forced on Moscow.

Meta said on Thursday that it has established a “special operations centre” to monitor information related to the Ukraine war.

VK and Odnoklassniki, Russia’s Facebook analogues, are popular in the nation, although Facebook is also popular, as is Meta-owned Instagram.

Senator Mark Warner of the United States stated on Friday that Facebook, YouTube, and other social media platforms have a “clear obligation to guarantee that your products are not used to promote human rights violations.”

Meta has been under pressure to flag falsehoods, and has partnered with third-party fact-checkers such as Reuters to do so.

Moscow has also stepped up its pressure on local news outlets, threatening to ban publications that include “false material” about its invasion of Ukraine.

Twitter’s safety and integrity teams are also “disrupting attempts to disseminate incorrect and misleading information and enhance the pace and scale of our enforcement,” according to the BBC.

(Adapted from Sky.com)

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