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18 Feb, 2019 12:30

Social media giants 'recruited' by foreign states to pressure Russian-linked media – Kremlin

Social media giants 'recruited' by foreign states to pressure Russian-linked media – Kremlin

International social media giants hurt their own reputation when they join the forces with the foreign governments to exert pressure on Russian-linked media, the Kremlin’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said.

“Many large companies which offer social media services and, let’s say, other digital formats, are recruited by the authorities of unfriendly nations to be used as tools to apply pressure on Russian media,” Peskov told reporters on Monday.

"We’ve seen it being done multiple times," he said, adding that such actions "lead to the loss of trust and seriously damage the reputation."

At the same time he advised people not to rush to conclusions regarding the recent takedown of Russian-linked pages by Facebook. "We must get an explanation first," Peskov stressed. "We know that [Russian outlets] had repeatedly managed to defend their rights."

The Russian Foreign Ministry commented the situation later, saying that Moscow considers the blocking of Facebook pages linked to RT as an “unacceptable” act of pressure on information sources which the US dislikes.

These comments came after Facebook took down several pages operated by Maffick Media, which is mostly owned by Russian-funded Ruptly video agency. The pages were taken down after CNN ran a story attacking them as part of the alleged Russian "influence campaign."

Maffick Media, which operated the deleted pages, slammed the takedown as "unprecedented censorship in a desperate attempt to milk ratings by stoking hysteria over Russia."

Russian media is targeted because it is popular with audiences in the West, Russian lawmaker Vladimir Jabarov said. Unable to challenge these outlets "in the field of information," the critics "resort to dirty methods," the politician who chairs the Foreign Affairs Committee in the upper house of parliament, noted.

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