Russia blocks Facebook, Meta hits back with pausing all ads

In an alarming censorship, Russia has blocked access to Facebook in the country. In response, its parent company Meta has paused all ads in Russia.

Meta said that due to the difficulties of operating in Russia at this time, ads targeting people in Russia will be paused, and “advertisers within Russia will no longer be able to create or run ads anywhere in the world, including within Russia”.

Meta said that as a result of the Russian government’s decision to block access to Facebook in the Russian Federation, millions of ordinary Russians will find themselves cut off from reliable information, “deprived of their everyday ways of connecting with family and friends and silenced from speaking out”.

“We will continue to do everything we can to restore our services so they remain available to people to safely and securely express themselves and organise for action,” Meta said in a statement.

Russia’s communications agency Roskomnadzor on Friday blocked access to Facebook, citing 26 cases of “discrimination against Russian media and information resources by Facebook” since October 2020.

Earlier on Friday, the Russian legislature advanced a new law against spreading “fake news” about the country’s armed forces, punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Shortly after the bill was advanced, the BBC announced it would suspend journalistic operations within the country.

Facebook’s decision follows similar moves from Google, Twitter, and Snapchat, which have all paused ads in Russia.

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