MOSCOW, March 7. /TASS/. Russia’s Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology, and Mass Media (Roscomnadzor) has demanded Facebook restore access to TASS, RBC, and Vzglyad materials.
"Roscomnadzor has issued a letter to Facebook administration demanding access be restored to information posted on official accounts of the Russian mass media Vzglyad, RBC, and TASS," the watchdog said on its Telegram channel.
It also stressed that Facebook’s actions "violate key principles of free dissemination of information, unimpeded access to it and can be described as an act of censorship."
The watchdog reminded that infringement on the right to free access to information is punishable by an administrative fine of up to one million rubles (13,450 US dollars) and of up to three million rubles (40,350 US dollars) in case of recurrent offence.
According to earlier reports, Facebook blocked a TASS post about the detention of supporters of a Ukrainian radical youth group in Russia’s Voronezh as "fake" news. The post was written on the basis of an official press statement from the Federal Security Service (FSB) and the Investigative Committee. TASS insists that it put the information correctly and plans to request Facebook explanations on the matter.
The TASS news item of February 18 says that Russia’s Federal Security Service nipped the activities of supporters of a Ukrainian radical youth group involved in propaganda of the ideology of neo-Nazism and massacre.
Facebook said the post had been cancelled at a request from the Ukrainian fact-checking service StopFake.
In March 2016, Facebook began to test various engines to combat fake news. Its menu was supplemented with an option of reporting a potentially fake news. Such posts are referred for verification to third-party organizations.
On March 27, 2020, Facebook launched a content fact-checking program in Ukraine. Ukrainian organizations VoxCheck and StopFake were chosen as partners.
TASS said it would demand explanations from Facebook and would ask the Russian mass media watchdog to consider this situation.
RBC, Vedomosti, and NTV reported similar problems with this news on Facebook.