Meta has restricted the presence of Russian state-controlled media on its platforms after warning of mounting disinformation attempts.
VP of global affairs, Nick Clegg, said yesterday that the firm had restricted access to several accounts in Ukraine at the request of its government.
“We are also reviewing other government requests to restrict Russian state-controlled media. In the meantime, we will continue to label and fact check these outlets as well as prohibit ads and demonetize their accounts globally,” he added.
“The Ukrainians have also suggested that we remove access to Facebook and Instagram in Russia. However, people in Russia are using FB and IG to protest and organize against the war and as a source of independent information. The Russian government is already throttling our platform to prevent these activities. We believe turning off our services would silence important expression at a crucial time.”
The moves are part of a broader series of steps taken by the social media giant. It has formed a “special operations center” staffed by experts from across the company, including native Russian and Ukrainian speakers, enabling the firm to “respond to issues in real time.”
Meta said it’s also expanded its third-party fact-checking capacity in Russian and Ukrainian and has taken down a network of accounts that violated its policy on “coordinated unauthentic behavior.”
The account owners are said to have run websites posing as independent news entities and created fake personas across Meta sites and Twitter, YouTube, Telegram, and Russian social media sites Odnoklassniki and VK.
“We’ve also seen increased targeting of Ukrainian military and public figures by Ghostwriter, a threat actor that has been tracked for some time by the security community,” Meta continued.
“We encourage people in Ukraine and Russia to adopt stronger account security measures – like two-factor authentication – to protect their information in the midst of this invasion.”
Recently attributed to the Belarusian state, Ghostwriter has been a prolific disseminator of false anti-NATO narratives over recent years and was criticized by the EU for continued attempts to steal data and spread disinformation.