Internet “Restricted” To Russian Websites

( )- Many social media companies are either fully banning or at least restricting access to their platforms by certain accounts that are run by Russian state media in Europe.

The Associated Press reported this week that the social media companies are hoping to stamp out the proliferation of misinformation and propaganda posted by many Russian state-run media organizations

On Tuesday, Google announced via Twitter that it would block any YouTube channel that was connected to the Sputnik and RT Russian state media companies throughout Europe. One day earlier, Meta — the parent company of both Instagram and Facebook — said it would restrict access to its platforms by both of those companies as well.

Governments throughout the western world have taken direct action against Russia following its invasion of Ukraine last week. Social media companies are private entities, of course, but they are forced to walk more of a fine line with regard to the situation.

On one hand, they definitely want to shut down misinformation and propaganda that might be communicated via their platforms out of Russia. On the other hand, they don’t want to put too many restrictions in place that people in Russia — especially the government — could retaliate against them.

That happened in part last week, when Russia partially restricted people in the country from accessing Facebook, once Meta announced their decision. While Meta didn’t block state media outlets in Russia, they did say they would add flags and continually fact check what the outlets were posting.

The concern for the social media platforms is that the Russian government takes the next step and bans people from within the country from accessing the platforms altogether. Ultimately, the people who would be hurt the most from that would be the everyday citizens of Russia, who would have their access to information and communication tools with the outside world severely limited.

The Ukrainian government has urged social media platforms such as Meta to completely block access to their platform in Russia. But, the company’s president of global affairs, Nick Clegg, said he was against the idea.

Clegg, who once served as the deputy prime minister of the United Kingdom, posted a Twitter thread on Sunday that read:

“People in Russia are using FB [Facebook] and IG [Instagram] to protest and organize against the war and as a source of independent information.

“The Russian Government is already throttling our platform to prevent these activities. We believe turning off our services would silence important expression at a crucial time.”

The Associated Press reported earlier this week that a lot of propaganda that was pro Russia was finding a home on TikTok. That was before the social media company decided to block access to both Sputnik and RT in Europe.

Microsoft also announced this week that they would stop showing ads and content from Sputnik and RT, and it would be removing RT’s app from its app store.

In addition, Bing — which Microsoft owns — would de-rank those two sites from the search engine.