Facebook‘s parent company, Meta announced that the company is restricting Russian state-media organizations’ accounts in Ukraine to prevent misinformation. The social media giant announced that the Ukrainian government contacted the company and requested them to take action against several accounts. Meta restricted access to several accounts in Ukraine, some of them are Russian state media organizations. The company is also reviewing other requests made by the Ukrainian government to restrict other accounts.
A new special operations center
Meta stated that they have established a special operations center with experts from the company, some of them are native Russian and Ukrainian speakers. The team is monitoring the platform continuously to be able to respond to issues immediately. Meta is also expanding its third-party fact-checking capacity in the region to eliminate misinformation.
Meta also introduced new safety features to help keep the people of Ukraine safe, including:
- Lock Your Profile: This tool allows people to lock their Facebook profiles in one step. When someone’s profile is locked, people who aren’t their friends can’t download, enlarge or share their profile photo, nor can they see posts or other photos on someone’s profile, regardless of when they may have posted it.
- Friends Lists: Meta temporarily removed the ability to view and search the friends lists of Facebook accounts in Ukraine to help protect people from being targeted.
- Instagram Privacy and Security Reminders: The company is sending everyone on Instagram in Ukraine a top-of-feed notification about privacy and account security. For public accounts, the company is reminding them to check their settings in case they want to make their accounts private. When someone makes their account private, any new followers will need to be approved, and only their followers will be able to see their posts and stories.
- Privacy and Safety in Messenger: Meta has increased the tools available to Messenger users in Ukraine, such as by quickly rolling out notifications for screenshots of disappearing messages in the end-to-end encrypted chats.
- Secure Messaging on WhatsApp: As always, your personal messages and calls are protected with end-to-end encryption by default so they cannot be intercepted by any government. You can now use “view once” media to send photos or videos that vanish after being seen and “disappearing mode” to automatically erase all new chats after 24 hours to protect the information in case you lose your phone.
The company is also providing greater transparency on state-controlled media outlets’ accounts, including RT and Sputnik. With these actions, users will be able to know if the news they read is coming from a publication that may be under the influence of a government. Some of these actions are:
- Meta is prohibiting ads from Russian state media and demonetizing their accounts.
- The company will continue to apply labels to additional Russian state media.
- Meta refused an order from the Russian authorities to stop the independent fact-checking and labeling of content posted on Facebook by four Russian state media organizations.
- State-controlled media, like other publishers, are eligible for fact-checking, and its third-party fact-checking partners can and do rate their content.
- State-controlled outlets must follow the company’s Community Standards and Advertising Policies.
- Ads and posts from state-controlled media outlets on Facebook and Instagram are labeled prominently. The company will also apply these labels to Instagram profiles, the “About this Account” section of Instagram accounts, the Page Transparency section of Facebook Pages and in the Ads Library.
- Meta developed its definition and standards for state-controlled media organizations with input from more than 65 experts around the world specializing in media, governance, and human rights and development.