By: Aryaman Bhatia, Science and Tech Editor, The Pawprint
Twitter has acknowledged that Russia has restricted access to the service in some areas of the country.
In a statement, the business stated, “We are aware that Twitter is being limited for certain individuals in Russia and are striving to maintain our services safe and available.”
Following a disagreement over “censorship,” Russia disabled Facebook on Friday.
Roskomnadzor, Russia’s communications regulator, accused Facebook of infringing on “the rights and freedoms of Russian individuals.”
Facebook stated that it will not discontinue fact-checking and labeling information from state-owned news organizations.
According to NetBlocks, there is a 100% or near-total ban on Twitter in Russia.
According to NetBlocks, Facebook and Instagram aren’t “observably blocked per our measurements, definitely not to the level that Twitter is at the moment.”
For people in Russia, circumvention is presently available through the use of VPN services, which can work around government-imposed limitations.
“Russia’s ban of Twitter would greatly hamper the free flow of information at a moment when the public most needs to be informed,” NetBlocks Director Alp Toker told the BBC.
Roskomnadzor has not yet taken any action against Twitter.
It is unknown what the Facebook limits could imply if they are applied, or whether other Meta-owned sites such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram will be affected.
The Russian regulator had asked that Facebook ease the limitations it imposed on official news agency RIA, state TV channel Zvezda, and pro-Kremlin news sites Lenta.Ru and Gazeta.Ru on Thursday.
Meta was claimed to have “ignored” these demands.
According to Sir Nick Clegg, Meta’s vice-president of global relations, Russian authorities “directed us to discontinue the independent fact-checking and labeling” of the outlets’ material.
“We declined,” he explained.
He made it plain, though, that he wanted Russians to continue using Meta’s platforms.
“Everyday Russians are using our applications to express themselves and organize for action,” Sir Nick said, adding that the business wants “them to continue to make their voices heard.”
Many state-owned Russian media sites have given a mainly favorable view of Russia’s military advances in Ukraine, describing the invasion as a “special military operation” forced on Moscow.
Meta has been under pressure to flag falsehoods – and has collaborated with third-party fact-checkers such as Reuters.
Moscow has also escalated pressure on domestic media, threatening to censor publications that include “false information” about its invasion of Ukraine.
Twitter also informed the BBC that its safety and integrity teams were “disrupting efforts to disseminate incorrect and misleading information and increase the pace and scope of our enforcement.”