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Russia restricts Facebook access after social network limits Kremlin-backed media

Russia has said it is partially restricting access to Facebook after the social network limited the accounts of several Kremlin-backed media outlets over the invasion of Ukraine.

Russia’s state communications regulator Roskomnadzor said it had demanded Facebook lift the restrictions it put on state news agency RIA Novosti, state TV channel Zvezda, and pro-Kremlin news sites Lenta.ru and Gazeta.ru on Thursday.

Facebook’s parent company, Meta Platforms Inc, said it refused to stop fact-checking Russia’s state-owned media.

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Nick Clegg said ‘ordinary Russians’ were using Mega’s apps, which also include Instagram and Whatsapp, to ‘express themselves and organise for action’

Key developments:

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‘We refused,’ Nick Clegg says

Former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, Mega’s head of global affairs, said: “Yesterday, Russian authorities ordered us to stop the independent fact-checking and labelling of content posted to Facebook by four Russian state-owned media organisations. We refused.

“As a result, they have announced they will be restricting the use of our services.”

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Roskomnadzor said its “partial restriction” on Facebook took effect on Friday, but did not clarify what the move means.

In an official statement, it described its actions as “measures to protect Russian media”.

It said Russia’s Foreign Ministry and the Prosecutor General’s office found Facebook “complicit in violation of fundamental human rights and freedoms, as well as the rights and freedoms of Russian nationals”.

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Sky News has verified and located this video to Melitopol, Ukraine. Intense gun fire and explosions can be heard.

Russians should keep using apps to ‘express themselves and organise for action’

Meta has partnered with third-party fact-checkers such as Reuters to label and rate content for veracity. Content rated false, altered or partly false is shown to fewer users.

Mr Clegg said “ordinary Russians” were using Meta’s apps, which also include Instagram and Whatsapp, to “express themselves and organise for action” and said the company wanted them to continue to do so.

It comes as Moscow increased pressure on domestic media, threatening that reports containing what it describes as “false information” regarding its military operation in Ukraine would be blocked.

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