Facebook and Instagram cut the reach of Russian state media

Facebook and Instagram cut Russia

Facebook and Instagram cut Russia

Meta confirmed Tuesday that it is limiting the spread of content shaped by the Russian government across its platforms. The company will suppress the algorithmic spread of content shared by Russian state-linked Facebook pages and Instagram accounts and downrank posts containing links to those outlets.

In a Twitter post, Meta Head of Security Policy Nathaniel Gleicher added that the company will begin attaching new labels to content linking to Russian state-affiliated outlets “in the days ahead” to provide users more context before they click through to those sites or share the links. The company also announced that it would make encrypted DMs available to Instagram users in Ukraine and Russia in light of the invasion.

On Monday, Meta limited access to Sputnik and RT, two of the most prominent Russian state media accounts, in Ukraine and the EU. Meta President of Global Affairs Nick Clegg, formerly a deputy prime minister in the UK, said the company received government requests to restrict the accounts, which it fulfilled due to the “exceptional nature” of the situation.

Meta’s move to restrict the reach of Russian government propaganda around the country’s invasion of Ukraine follows similar measures implemented by Twitter on Monday. The new limitations also follow the Russian government’s assertion last week that it would “partially restrict” access to Facebook in the country after the company added warning labels and fact-checking to content from Russian government-linked accounts.


Ukrainians turn to encrypted messages, offline maps, and Twitter amid Russian invasion

Instagram makes encrypted direct messaging available in Ukraine and Russia

As part of a series of actions Meta (previously Facebook) is taking in response to the conflict in Ukraine, which have included restricting state media and increased efforts around fact-checking, the company also announced it’s making encrypted one-to-one chats in Instagram available to all adults in both Ukraine and Russia.

Users on Instagram will also be alerted to the option by way of a notification that appears at the top of their direct message inbox, which informs them they can switch over to an encrypted conversation if they choose.

Other Meta-owned apps, including Messenger and WhatsApp, have already offered end-to-end encryption. On WhatsApp, it’s the default. However, default end-to-end encryption won’t fully arrive on Messenger until sometime in 2023, but the company has offered the option to enable end-to-end encryption for text chats on Messenger for many years. In addition, it fully rolled out end-to-end encrypted group chats and calls in Messenger back in January.

The company explained its decision to make the safety features available across both Ukraine and Russia. It suggested Russian activists speaking out against the war could also be at risk without the option.

“Prominent Russians creators and influencers, activists and musicians, are using Facebook and Instagram to access information and speak out against the invasion, … We want them to continue to be able to do so. And we want people in Russia to continue to be able to hear from President Zelenskyy and others in Ukraine,”

Nick Clegg, Meta’s president of global affairs


Facebook and Instagram cut Russia

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