Social Media and Russia's Other War
The was in Ukraine is not going well for Mr. Putin and he seems to be swinging at anything that moves in response. The New York Times is reporting that Russia is waging a domestic war against unfavorable coverage on the conflict and even banning Facebook from the country entirely.
Russia has now blocked access to the social media giant along with a who's who of western news outlets. They have also instituted a new law which allows for a prison term up to 15 years if a person is found guilty of spreading "false information" about the war in Ukraine.
"The crackdown comes as the Kremlin scrambles to contain discontent over the war and to control the narrative as Russia faces its most severe economic crisis in decades as a result of this week’s crushing Western sanctions. Fearing prosecution, more independent Russian news outlets shut down on Friday, and the BBC said it had suspended all of its operations in Russia. Mr. Putin signed a law that effectively criminalizes any public opposition to or independent news reporting about the war against Ukraine. Taking effect as soon as Saturday, the law could make it a crime to simply call the war a “war” — the Kremlin says it is a “special military operation” — on social media or in a news article or broadcast. Announcements that the law was coming had already pushed Russian independent media outlets to shut down in recent days, and more followed on Friday" .
As of this writing there is no word on whether Russia will move to ban other platforms owned by Facebook's parent company META which includes Instagram and Whatsapp. However, it doesn't seem likely they would wage a campaign against only one service without banning the others which have many of the same restrictions as Facebook.