Meta blocks Russian state-media accounts in Ukraine
Meta, formerly Facebook, has announced it has restricted access to several accounts, including some belonging to Russian state-media organisations, in Ukraine.
“We have been in contact with the government of Ukraine. At their request, we have restricted access to several accounts in Ukraine, including those belonging to some Russian state media organisations,” Meta VP global affairs Nick Clegg wrote in a tweet.
“We are also reviewing other government requests to restrict Russian state-controlled media.”
The steps taken by the social media giant are in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which began four days ago.
Meta added it has also established a special operations centre staffed by “experts” from across the company, including native Russian and Ukrainian speakers, to monitor its platform and respond to misinformation issues in real time.
“We have teams of native Russian and Ukrainian content reviewers to help us review potentially violating content. We’re also using technology to help us scale the work of our content review teams and to prioritise what content those teams should be spending their time on, so we can take down more violating content before it goes viral,” Meta said.
Additionally, the company outlined it has introduced new security features to keep people in Ukraine safe. These include giving users the tool to lock their Facebook profile in one step, temporarily removing the ability to view and search the friends lists of Facebook accounts in Ukraine, and rolling out notifications for screenshots and activating the disappearing messages feature on Messenger.
“View once media” has also been enabled on WhatsApp to allow users to send photos or videos that can vanish after being seen, as well as “disappearing mode” to automatically erase all new chats after 24 hours.
Russian-state media have also been blocked from advertising and making money on its platform, the company said.
“Our thoughts are with everyone affected by the war in Ukraine. We are taking extensive steps across our apps to help ensure the safety of our community and support the people who use our services — both in Ukraine and around the world,” Meta wrote in a post.
Clegg also wrote on Twitter that Ukrainians have suggested that Meta remove access to Facebook and Instagram in Russia. However, he said: “People in Russia are using FB and IG to protest and organise against the war and as a source of independent information”.
“The Russian government is already throttling our platform to prevent these activities. We believe turning off our services would silence important expression at a crucial time,” he said.
Twitter said it has also taken similar steps, including pausing advertisements in Ukraine and Russia “to ensure critical public safety information is elevated and ads don’t detract from it”.
Meanwhile, Twitch and OnlyFans have reportedly blocked all users from Russia from accessing their accounts, preventing users from being able to withdraw money earned on their respective platforms, amid tougher sanctions being introduced against Russia.