As the Russia-Ukraine conflict escalates in every passing hour, social media platforms have been instrumental in spreading real-time news of actual events. If used properly, not only do platforms connect citizens in both countries, they also let the rest of the world know about the latest and actual situation happening at hand. Historically with Russia, this is not the case, as the country has repeatedly attempted to get in the way of foreign democracies by spreading false information on Facebook.
Russia’s communications and tech regulator has been complaining that Facebook has imposed restrictions on four Russian media outlets since February 24, name;y the : RIA Novosti news agency, Gazeta.ru and Lenta.ru Internet sites, and the Zvezda TV channel. Although the government agency sent a request to the social media company to remove the restrictions as well as explain the reason for the restrictions.
Meta, the parent company of Facebook has not given the Russians a response and has ignored the request to lift the restrictions.
In retaliation and as a means of getting even with Meta, Russia’s agency for the Supervision of Communications, Information Technology has also partially restricted Russian Facebook users from accessing the social media site. This made it difficult for Russian FB users to communicate with relatives and friends in Ukraine and other regions outside Russia.
Meta’s Reason for Imposing Restrictions on Russian News Agencies
Meta’s response to the issue was that there has been a lot of labeling misinformation occurring on the 4 state media accounts, the main reason for the restrictions. Nick Clegg from Meta mentioned how the situation was escalating in a very fast pace, which clearly demonstrated social media’s significant role in disseminating relevant and truthful information. According to Clegg, leaders in some areas have been trying to control and limit the narrative surrounding the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict.
Meta’s Facebook has around 24 million Ukrainian users, which is only half of the 70 million users in Russia. This shows how significant the social media platform’s reach and impact is, especially in influencing public opinion.