Social media giant Facebook has restored several RT-linked pages more than a week after it blocked them without prior notice. The pages were only freed-up after their administrators posted data about their management and funding.
The Facebook pages of InTheNow, Soapbox, Back Then and Waste-Ed – all operated by the Germany-based company Maffick Media, which is 51 percent owned by RT’s video agency Ruptly – were made accessible again as of Monday evening.
All the accounts were previously suspended by Facebook, which issued no warning before taking action against the pages, even though their administration had not violated any of the social media giant’s existing regulations.
The social network then said in a statement that it wants the pages’ administrators to reveal their “ties to Russia” to their audience in the name of greater transparency while still refraining from contacting the accounts’ managers directly. FB’s measure was taken following a CNN report, which accused the pages of concealing their ties to “the Kremlin,” even though their administrators had never actually made a secret of their relations to Ruptly and RT.
Maffick CEO Anissa Naouai said what Facebook had done was “blatant censorship.” She also said she believes that the move was prompted by the pages’ popularity and by their critical stance on several US policies, and the US-backed coup attempt in Venezuela in particular.
Facebook only contacted her on February 20, after staying silent for about five days, Naouai said. The blocking was apparently explained away by reference to a “new policy.”
Later, she also revealed that the social media giant agreed to unblock the pages, but only after their administration updated“our ‘About’ section, in a manner NO other page has been required to do.” The accounts now indeed feature information related to their funding and management, visible under the pages’ logos.
I guess you could say we are making Facebook history or are the victims of blatant double standards.
No other pages besides the four RT-linked ones have been forced to comply with the “new policy” so far, Naouai says.
The blocking of the accounts had been slammed by journalists and popular social media commentators. The head of the world’s largest media union, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), denounced it as an “act of censorship opposed by the IFJ.”
Journalist Glenn Greenwald, co-founder of The Intercept, also criticized Facebook’s actions as “highly disturbing.” Popular social and political commenter and stand-up comedian Jimmy Dore told RT that the “ultimate goal” of such actions is to “expand the security state’s control over social media.”