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19 Jan, 2017 01:16

Facebook blocks RT from posting until after Trump inauguration

RT has been blocked from posting content to its Facebook page. The ban, according to the Facebook bot, will last until Saturday 10:55pm Moscow time (2:55pm EST) and will extend across US president-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration.

UPDATE: After about 20 hours, Facebook has restored RT's ability to post live streams, images, and videos to the over four million followers of its page on the social network.


A misplaced live streaming rights strike during RT's broadcast of President Obama's final press conference seems to have triggered the ban.

RT’s Head of Social media, Ivor Crotty, said “the live-rights strike seems to be part of an algorithmic failure to acknowledge rights acquired by broadcasters, and we hope it will be resolved in the short term.”

“While Facebook is a powerful distributor of live-streams it is struggling with the rights ramifications. RT will continue text-only posts to Facebook until the issue is resolved,” Crotty added.


President Obama's final press conference was carried live by multiple news networks on Wednesday. The Facebook bot notification, which interrupted RT's live stream, stated that rights to the content had been claimed by Current Time TV, a project of Radio Liberty in collaboration with the Voice of America. Radio Liberty is an independent corporation, financed by the US Congress.

When asked by RT, Current Time TV said in a statement that “the channel has not sent any complaints regarding RT or any other organizations in connection with the live feed.”


“We were feeding Barack Obama’s news conference with simultaneous translation on Facebook in a daily show Timur Olevsky’s Hour and we had all necessary rights for that feed,” it stated.

However, RT was streaming the broadcast from an AP Direct feed, being officially subscribed. In response to an RT inquiry, AP assured the channel it had no hand in breaking the streaming.

There is no reason from our side as to why RT should have not been able to freely transmit our signal via their own FB page. In fact, I do not believe that AP would even be able to physically restrict client’s [sic] transmissions on their own Facebook pages. In addition, the footage was our own and the restrictions did not mention anything out of the ordinary [...] In short, it must have been an issue on [Facebook’s] end," AP Editorial Liaison representative Phoebe Paulus said in an email.

12 hours since the block, RT has not received any mails from Facebook to its page admin confirming this was the case.

The manager of the "News, Media and Publishing on Facebook" Group responded to an RT post on the block, saying it seemed RT had rights but that the only option was to submit to Facebook's management system.

This is the first time RT has been blocked from posting to Facebook. Here is the image of our post to Facebook and of the chat with Facebook Media, News & Publishing group.