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Russia partially limits Facebook amid fact-checking row

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Russia partially limits Facebook amid fact-checking row
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Washington: Russia has announced it is partially limiting access to Facebook, after the US social media giant defied authorities' order to stop fact-checkers and content warning labels on its platforms, amid the country's attack on Ukraine.

The Russian communications regulator, Roskomnadzor, said on Friday that Facebook had ignored its demands to lift restrictions on four Russian media outlets on its platform – RIA news agency, the Defence Ministry's Zvezda TV, and websites gazeta.ru and lenta.ru.

In a statement, the regulator, said, "In accordance with the decision of the General Prosecutor's Office, starting from February 25, partial access restrictions are being imposed by Roskomnadzor on the Facebook social network."

It was not immediately clear what Russia's restrictions on Facebook would involve.

The Russian government has also increased pressure on domestic media by issuing warning to block reports containing what it describes as "false information" over Ukraine conflict.

Hours later, Meta's Nick Clegg said in a statement, "Yesterday, Russian authorities ordered us to stop the independent fact-checking and labelling of content posted on Facebook by four Russian state-owned media organizations," "We refused."

The agency, Roskomnadzor, did not specify what the measures would be.

Moscow's move comes days after Russia staged a large-scale invasion of neighboring Ukraine, in the biggest geopolitical crisis in Europe in decades.

It follows the government in recent years taking a series of measures to limit online freedoms for Russians.

"Ordinary Russians are using our apps to express themselves and organize for action," Clegg said in a statement. "We want to continue to make their voices heard."

AFP currently works with Facebook's fact-checking program in more than 80 countries and 24 languages.

Under the programme, which started in December 2016, Facebook pays to use fact checks from around 80 organizations, including media outlets and specialized fact checkers, on its platform, WhatsApp and on Instagram.

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TAGS:Russia-Ukraine war Facebook 
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