Social Media

Putin Bans Facebook & Twitter as Russia Cancels Big Tech

SOCIAL MEDIA TRENDS - Keisha Wray Post

social media

Russia is blocking Meta Platforms Inc’s Facebook, the country’s communications regulator said on Friday, in response to what it said were restrictions on access to Russian media on the platform reports CBS News.

The regulator, Roskomnadzor, said there had been 26 cases of discrimination against Russian media by Facebook since October 2020, with access restricted to state-backed channels like RT and the RIA news agency.

Roskomnadzor also declared Friday a block on Twitter, saying it cut access to the platform in line with the Russian Prosecutor General’s office decision. The watchdog has previously accused Twitter of failing to delete the content banned by the Russian authorities and slowed down access to it.

The moves are a major escalation in an ongoing confrontation between big tech companies and Russia, which has in recent years issued a slew of fines and hobbled services through slowdowns. The tensions have ramped up amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow calls a “special operation.”

Meta had about 7.5 million users on Facebook in Russia as of last year and 122.2 million users across its other services, including Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger, according to estimates from Insider Intelligence. The leading Russia-based social network VK had 63 million users, the researcher estimated.

Popular VPN apps have been downloaded more than 1.3 million times in Russia since its invasion of Ukraine began, according to data from researcher AppFigures, which described the figure as a major surge.

Tech companies globally have pulled out of Russia in response to requests from governments or to signal support for Ukraine. U.S. internet provider Cogent Communications said on Friday it was cutting internet service to Russian clients.