Russia’s Shutdown of Facebook Is a Dangerous, Unprecedented Attack on Activists, Civil Society

Company Must Do Better In Ukraine Conflict, But Cutting off Russians is a “Grim” Act By Putin

4 MARCH — The Real Facebook Oversight Board issued the following statement on Russia’s move to block Facebook in the country:

“The Russian Government’s decision to cut off access to Russian citizens can only be seen as a desperate, dangerous attack on activists and civil society, and on access to information in Russia. In spite of Facebook’s challenges, and the myriad ways in which Facebook’s platforms have been used to attack democracy in the West and weaponized by Putin, this is a grim and dangerous act.

We need platforms for communications where activists and citizens can learn and engage; even deeply flawed and imperfect platforms like Facebook are a lifeline right now for activists and everyday Russian’s being flooded with propaganda.

We continue to have serious concerns about Facebook’s approach to this conflict. Disinformation is flooding Facebook’s platforms worldwide; RT and Sputnik were only cut off in the EU, not more broadly. And Facebook has the choice they have every day all over the world: to shut off the algorithm that prioritizes fake news, hate speech and misinformation.

This act, however, has nothing to do with accountability or oversight. It is a clear escalation by Russia to cut its citizens off from the truth about Russia’s acts in Ukraine.”

Real Facebook Oversight Board members are available for interviews. Statements do not reflect the individual positions of all Real Facebook Oversight Board Members. Contact us at media@the-citizens.com.

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Real Facebook Oversight Board

An emergency response to the ongoing harms on Facebook’s platforms from leading global scholars, experts and advocates.