Facebook’s ‘verified account’ tick used to interfere in Venezuela – Russian parliament speaker
The head of the Russian State Duma has blasted US tech giant Facebook for giving the Venezuelan opposition leader’s accounts a blue verification badge while denying it to its elected president.
“It’s quite surprising when such big social networks, which claim to be independent, act in this way, playing to the tune of Washington,” Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker of the Lower Chamber in the Russian Parliament, told journalists on Thursday. He added that Facebook was serving as a tool of US foreign policy.
The scolding remark refers to Facebook’s policies on awarding ‘verified’ status to accounts, which made headlines amid turmoil in Venezuela. The leader of the opposition-dominated National Assembly, Juan Guaido, proclaimed himself the acting president in defiance of President Nicolas Maduro, who was sworn in for his second term earlier this month. Guaido is backed by Washington, and the US has been calling for a regime change in Venezuela for a long time.Also on rt.com US might pull regional strings to topple Maduro through military invasion – Max Blumenthal
As the stand-off in Venezuela unfolds, Facebook was criticized on social media for taking away ‘blue ticks’ from Maduro accounts on its platforms – Facebook and Instagram – while keeping them for Guaido.
Instagram just unverified Maduro and verified Guaido pic.twitter.com/sc6Sv6FvUj— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) January 24, 2019
Instagram and facebook backing #venezuela national assembly president Juan Guaido after he proclaimed himself the country’s president. Both are “verifying” him as the country’s new president and stripping Nicolas Maduro of his “verified” status. pic.twitter.com/HPd36DXfnp— manuel rueda (@ruedareport) January 23, 2019
@verified Maduro is no longer the president of #Venezuela, @InstagramES@instagram already unverified his account Venezuelan people are waiting for @Twitter@TwitterLatAm to do the same.#venezuelaLibre#VenezuelaFree#29E#MaduroUsurpadorDeVzla— DisidenteResistente (@MipatriaMeduele) January 23, 2019
Facebook said the ‘unverification’ claim is not accurate. It did not take away the blue badge form Maduro’s accounts as they were never verified in the first place, the tech giant explained in response to online outrage. Guaido got the blue tick on Instagram in November last year and recently on Facebook.
The blue mark on social media networks was initially intended to verify accounts run by public persons, so that other users can distinguish them from satirical accounts and impersonators. But lately it has been increasingly used as a badge of trustworthiness or even as an endorsement of the person’s political stance.
Twitter famously stripped the badge from several right-wing speakers in 2017 after being accused of elevating their status with it.Also on rt.com ‘Facebook a government agent? Kadyrov’s ban could amount to First Amendment violation’
Facebook sparked controversy in Russia in 2017 after deleting the accounts of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov. The move was justified by him being on US sanctions list, but many commenters argued that the company was violating freedom of speech with its decision.
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