Moscow Shuts Off Facebook, Imposing “Fake News” Law While More International Corporations Withdraw

Photo: Reuters

With many countries placing sanctions against Russia and multiple international companies refusing to trade and provide services to the country, Moscow is issuing counter-sanctions against all those. 

Russia announced that it would shut off Facebook over the exclusion of state media. At the same time, CNN said it would cease to broadcast in Russia following a new law penalizing “fake news” that escalated the stakes in Moscow’s battle with international companies. 

On Friday, an increase in the ongoing tension that started following the Russian invasion of Ukraine continued. Russia shut off multiple media companies, and new, giant corporations said they were suspending Russian sales, counting Microsoft Corp and Electronic Arts Inc, a video game developer. 

According to Moscow, it shuts off Facebook by Meta Platforms Inc for banning state-owned channels, as well as the BBC websites, Deutsche Welle and Voice of America for what it said was untrue information about the crisis in Ukraine. Russian media stated that Moscow would shut off Twitter too. 

BBC stated that it would momentarily stop its operations in Russia following the release of a new law that could put anyone behind bars discovered to be willfully spreading “fake” news. 

CNN by AT&T Inc, according to a spokesperson, is suspending broadcasts to “evaluate the situation and our next steps moving forward.” 

Nick Clegg, head of global affairs at Meta, stated the giant would remain to do everything to bring back its services. 

“Soon, millions of ordinary Russians will find themselves cut off from reliable information, deprived of their everyday ways of connecting with family and friends and silenced from speaking out,” said Clegg in a statement on Twitter. 

A wave of leading Western companies from different industries has withdrawn from Russia. Several popular brands have condemned Moscow for its assault on Ukraine. Some have described reacting to the crisis, such as the luxury brand LVMH announcing Friday that it would temporarily close 124 shops in Russia. 

Among others is Canadian Tire shutting 41 Russian stores; Bombardier, a private jet manufacturer halting business negotiations with Russian clients; and shipping and supply-chain companies. 

Royal Dutch Shell, Apple Inc, and Toyota Motor Corp have also taken measures, from halting sales and operations to totally departing. Another addition is Louis Dreyfus, an agricultural commodity merchant.