Facebook owner Meta will block access to Russia's RT, Sputnik in EU

Illustration shows RT logo
Russia Today (RT) logo is seen in this illustration picture taken February 26, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

Feb 28 (Reuters) - Meta Platforms Inc (FB.O), parent company of Facebook, will restrict access to Russian state media outlets RT and Sputnik on its platforms across the European Union, the company's head of global affairs said on Monday.

Nick Clegg said in a Twitter post that the social media company received requests from a number of governments and the EU to take steps in relation to Russian state-controlled media on its platforms. Clegg said Meta would continue to work closely with governments on the issue.

The European Union said on Sunday it would ban Russian state-owned television network RT and news agency Sputnik. Canadian telecoms operators have also stopped offering the RT channel.

Russian state-run media's activity on social media platforms has emerged as a contentious issue for big tech companies during the country's invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow calls a "special operation."

Meta, Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) and Alphabet Inc's (GOOGL.O) Google and YouTube have taken measures in recent days to restrict Russian state media from making money from ads on their platforms. Twitter Inc (TWTR.N) banned RT and Sputnik from advertising on its site in 2017.

Twitter said on Monday it would label and restrict the visibility of tweets containing content from Russian state-affiliated media outlets, in an expansion of its policy to label the state media accounts. read more

Reporting by Elizabeth Culliford in New York Editing by Will Dunham and Matthew Lewis

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Thomson Reuters

Technology correspondent in New York, reporting on social media companies and their impact. Previously based in San Francisco and London, she worked on digital, graphics and investigative teams and covered the U.S. 2020 presidential election. She was part of a Reuters reporting team that won Gerald Loeb, Scripps Howard and SABEW Best in Business awards.