Amid an ongoing crackdown on protestors and independent media outlets, the Kremlin blocked access to Facebook and Twitter on Friday.
As per the statement of the Russian telecommunications regulator, Roskomnadzor added that the decision to restrict Facebook was made in reaction to the platform’s alleged “discrimination” against Russian media, citing 26 cases since October 2020.
President of global affairs for Facebook’s parent company, Meta, Nick Clegg, said in a statement on Twitter, “Soon, millions of ordinary Russian citizens will find themselves restricted from reliable information, denied of their everyday ways of connecting with family & friends and silenced from speaking out. We will continue to do everything we can to restore our services to, so they remain available to people to safely and securely expresses themselves and organize for action.”
On Friday, Meta has released a statement announcing that advertisers in Russia would be cut off from Facebook, “Despite the Russian government’s announcement that they will be blocking Facebook, we are working to keep our services available to the greatest extent possible. But, due to the difficulties of operating in Russia at this time, ads targeting people in Russia would be paused, and advertisers within Russia will no longer be able to create or run ads anywhere across the globe, including within Russia.”
Since Russia invaded Ukraine, the Kremlin has added over 5,000 websites to its ‘denylist,’ as per the reports. While some of the banned websites, including routine regulation, have stripped over 80 news outlets and 30 financial sites since February 24th.
Russia has also started blocking financial sites on Monday as the value of the ruble faces a downtrend. The bans include foreign exchange and crypto platforms that would permit Russians to trade money to another currency.
On Monday, Facebook and Instagram restricted access to Russian state media across the European Union after receiving requests from the E.U. and several other governments to make such a move. Two days later, Twitter confirmed it would impose similar regulations in Europe, following the E.U.’s sanctions announcement on state-backed media, R.T. and Sputnik.