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Facebook limits Russian state media from making money off platform

As Facebook made a move to limit Russian state media ads, Russia was announcing restrictions on the social media site within the country.

Facebook said Friday it is prohibiting Russian state media from running ads or making money off its platform, worldwide, as the invasion of Ukraine intensifies. The announcement was met with approval from some while others questioned why the social media site wasn't doing more.

In a short Twitter thread, Facebook's head of security policy said in addition to demonetizing, it was applying labels to content from Russian state media.

"We are closely monitoring the situation in Ukraine and will keep sharing steps we’re taking to protect people on our platform," Nathaniel Gleicher tweeted.

While some applauded and urged other sites like YouTube to do the same, others asked why the accounts weren't simply being banned.

For its part, Russia was already taking steps within its own county to limit dissent about the invasion of Ukraine in traditional and social media. It comes after more than 1,800 protesters in dozens of Russian cities were detained Thursday night, according to the OVD-Info rights group.

Russia's state communications and internet watchdog, Roskomnadzor, announced “partial restrictions” on access to Facebook in response to the platform limiting the accounts of several Kremlin-backed media. It did not say what exactly its restrictions implied.

The agency said it demanded Facebook lift its restrictions on state news agency RIA Novosti, state TV channel Zvezda and pro-Kremlin news sites Lenta.Ru and Gazeta.Ru, but the platform didn’t comply. The Facebook moves, according to Roskomnadzor, included marking their content as unreliable and imposing restrictions on search results to reduce the publications’ audience on Facebook.

In its official statement, Roskomnadzor said that Russia’s Foreign Ministry and the Prosecutor General’s office on Friday found Facebook “complicit in violation of fundamental human rights and freedoms, as well as the rights and freedoms of Russian nationals,” and cast its move as ’“measures to protect Russian media.”

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