On Friday, before Russia blocked Facebook in their country, Russian officials said that the major U.S. tech companies Meta and Google should be held responsible for “inciting war” amid its ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry on Tuesday said a system should be created to hold western tech giants, including Meta Platforms Inc (FB.O) and Alphabet’s (GOOGL.O) Google, responsible for what it called “inciting war”, the Interfax news agency reported.
State communications Roskomnadzor also demanded that foreign internet services stop discriminating against Russian media in Europe.
Google and Meta are among internet companies facing possible punitive measures in Russia after failing to open local offices and take other measures required by a communications law.
In July 2021, Russian legislation signed by President Vladimir Putin demanded that foreign social media companies with more than 500,000 daily users open local offices in Russia- or be subject to restrictions including complete bans of the social media companies.
The Russian laws for social media also require companies to register with Russian communications regulator Roskomnadzor and have a system for fielding user complaints.
In November, Roskomnadzor listed 13 companies it wanted to set up officially on Russian soil. Last month, it said it would start imposing restrictions by the end of February.
Then on Friday, Russia announced that it was blocking access to Facebook.
The move happens amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and some feel the action is to crack down on people who might have dissenting views on the war.
The government said the move against Facebook is due to the platform’s “discrimination against Russian news media,” The New York Times reported.
Facebook was furious about the ban, claiming the Russian people would be shut out of all news about their country.
“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,” Meta President of Global Affairs Nick Clegg wrote in a statement on Twitter.
“We will continue to do everything we can to restore our services so they remain available to people to safely and securely express themselves and organize for action,” he added.