Invasion of Ukraine: Facebook and Instagram will block RT and Sputnik in the UK at the request of the government | Scientific and technical news
Facebook and Instagram are blocking RT and Sputnik for users in the UK following a request from the UK government.
It follows a letter from Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries in which she urged Meta, ICT Tacand Twitter to restrict access to Russian state-owned organizations which she accuses of spreading “harmful propaganda in Britain”.
“I want to urge you to do all you can to enforce the approach you are taking across the EU to block access to both RT and Sputnik’s online output on your UK services,” said Ms Dorries.
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A Meta spokesperson told Sky News: “Earlier this week we announced that we would be restricting access to RT and Sputnik across the EU.
“In line with this action, and following a request from the UK government, we will also be restricting access to RT and Sputnik in the UK at this time,” they added.
Announcing EU sanctions against “the Kremlin’s media machine” on Sunday, Ursula von der Leyen said: “The state-owned Russia Today and Sputnik, and their affiliates, will no longer be able to spread their lies to justify the war of Putin”.
Earlier this week, YouTube made the decision to block access to RT and Sputnik across Europe and in the UK at the same time.
Twitter and TikTok have yet to respond to Ms Dorries’ request.
Sky News understands that these companies are concerned that the EU banning both RT and Sputnik is based on legislative action taken by President Von der Leyen, and that no similar legal action has been taken in the UK.
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A source on one of these platforms also expressed concern that Ms Dorries’ letter explained how she had asked Ofcom to investigate RT and noted that the investigation was ongoing, highlighting how point it was important that the right legal approach was taken.
The particular concern is that RT and Sputnik could take legal action against the platforms for banning them in a way that is not covered by their terms and conditions, but right after a letter from a government minister.