Facebook blocks Russia’s RT prior to Trump inauguration

rt blocked facebook jan 2017

Both Facebook and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg aren’t having the best of weeks. While Zuck is out in Hawaii settling land disputes, Facebook has looked due East, blocking an influential Russian media network.

Kremlin-funded RT revealed yesterday that it was briefly blocked from posting multimedia and articles to Facebook.

“RT has been blocked from posting content to its Facebook page,” the network announced on its website.

“The ban, according to the Facebook bot, will last until Saturday 10:55pm Moscow time (2:55pm EST) and will extend across US president-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration.”

According to the company, a live stream rights issue caused the ban while the network was beaming Barack Obama’s final news conference live over Facebook. Blaming Facebook for the issue, RT’s social chief Ivor Crotty noted that the issue was likely caused by an “algorithmic failure to acknowledge rights acquired by broadcasters.”

RT was blocked from posting content to Facebook around Thursday 9pm South African time

RT claims that it owned the rights to broadcast the Associated Press’ direct feed.

The ban was lifted after 20 hours, well before Donald Trump’s inauguration scheduled for Friday 7pm SAST.

While the ban could well be a simple issue with Facebook’s copyright identification systems, some suggest that the move could be in line with Facebook’s stance on fake news.

The company will allow users in Germany to report fake news prior to the country’s elections this year. Facebook will also employ fact checking agencies to scour articles on its platform for inconsistencies.

The recent publishing of the alleged Russia-Trump files also brings to light the delicate Russia-America relations at present.

At the time of writing, RT’s Facebook page is wholly accessible.

Feature image: RT

Andy Walker, former editor


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