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If you can't beat them, ban them: Twitter no longer showing search results from well-known Russian state news agency RIA Novosti

If you can't beat them, ban them: Twitter no longer showing search results from well-known Russian state news agency RIA Novosti
Twitter has shadow-banned well-known Russian news agency RIA Novosti. In practice, the move means users will no longer see the agency's tweets in the website's search results, unless they follow the media organization's account.

The removal of RIA Novosti's tweets from the search function has been called "media censorship," as the social network continues to restrict news outlets it considers to be "Russian state-affiliated." Last month, both RT and Sputnik also faced the same suppression.

"We consider such restrictions on the part of Twitter to be an act of media censorship, which is expressly prohibited by the Russian Constitution," the press service of Rossiya Segodnya, the parent company of RIA Novosti, said on Monday. "The social network does not react to our requests and does not explain its decisions."

Also on rt.com Twitter labels RT & Sputnik but NOT BBC, NPR & VOA as it launches blitz on state media staff & govt officials

This latest move against Russian media has been criticized by independent Russian Senator Alexander Bashkin, who called the decision "open censorship," accusing Twitter of "double standards."

"This is a real information war," he insisted. 

In August, Twitter announced that it would be labeling accounts of key government officials of the five UN Security Council members, as well as state-linked media and their senior staff. This caused controversy when the company opted to label RT and Sputnik as 'state-affiliated,' but left the likes of BBC and US state-run Voice of America and RFE/RL alone.

READ MORE: Russia wants to ban latest encryption technology to prevent internet users bypassing state-imposed blocks & filters

Earlier this month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov noted that Russian correspondents abroad are "openly discriminated against," highlighting issues in France and the Baltic states.

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