Russian state owned news outlet Russian Times, RT, was blocked from posting on its Facebook page for 20 hours before Facebook lifted the ban. Originally the ban was scheduled to be lifted at 2:35pm ET on Saturday, the day after Trump’s inauguration.
The ban was instituted yesterday after RT allegedly ran a pirated stream of Obama’s last press conference on the social media site.
RT was banned from posting from posting articles, photos, and videos, but the news outlet was still able to post text directly to Facebook. The Kremlin-funded media outlet was an early and vocal supporter of president-elect Donald Trump, leading some people to find the timing of the ban suspicious.
RT seems to believe that there was direct US government involvement in the ban and plans to fight it. The Russian news outlet claims that they were running an Associated Press stream of the press conference. The organization that supposedly sent the copyright notice, Current Time TV, reportedly told RT that they did no such thing.
“Current Time TV claimed it had “not sent any complaints regarding RT or any other organizations in connection with the live feed,” RT writes on its website.
Once the restrictions had been lifted, Facebook told RT in an email that “the reasons behind the temporary block of certain functions are being determined.”
Another US digital platform, Twitter-based news-breaking service Dataminr, has moved to deny service to RT with immediate effect. No official explanation behind the decision has been given by Dataminr, a company which cooperates with news agencies around the world, writes RT.
Facebook officials denied charges of bias in the past. But in stark contrast to their denial, they did note that when a story cropped up from conservative sites like Newsmax, the Washington Examiner, Washington Star-News or Breitbart, they were instructed to look for a more reputable source, like The New York Times, BBC, or CNN.
Facebook has also come under scrutiny recently for their crusade on ‘fake news’, which critics claim is a thinly veiled attempt at censoring opposing views of liberal politics and policies.