A week after introducing partial restrictions on Facebook, the Russian government announced Friday that it would begin blocking the social network in the country outright.
Russia’s internet regulatory agency Roskomnadzor cited “26 cases of discrimination against Russian media and information resources” in the decision to cut off access to the world’s largest social platform, echoing its prior complaints that the company imposed restrictions on state-affiliated media outlets including the television network Zvezda and RIA Novosti, a Russian news agency.
“In recent days, the social network has restricted access to accounts: the Zvezda TV channel, the RIA Novosti news agency, Sputnik, Russia Today, the Lenta.ru and Gazeta.ru information resources,” the Russian agency wrote, explaining its decision to block Facebook.
“The above restrictions are prohibited by Federal Law No. 272-FZ ‘On measures to influence persons involved in violations of fundamental human rights and freedoms, the rights and freedoms of citizens of the Russian Federation,’ adopted, among other things, to prevent violations of the key principles of the free flow of information and unhindered access Russian users to Russian media on foreign Internet platforms.”
The Russian government’s actions come as protests against the country’s bloody invasion of neighboring Ukraine build momentum domestically. Russia’s parliament passed new legislation Friday that would introduce intense repercussions for anyone found to be deliberately spreading “fake” information about the country’s activities in Ukraine, including lengthy prison sentences stretching up to 15 years.