Facebook blocks Russia Today from posting until day after Trump's inauguration
Facebook blocked RT, the Kremlin-backed English news outlet formerly known as Russia Today, from posting videos, photos and news articles until the day after Donald Trump's inauguration.
The ban was enacted after a copyright complaint about a video stream of Barack Obama's press conference on RT's Facebook page on Wednesday.
The social network had handed RT a 72-hour suspension but lifted it on Thursday evening. It said the original block was not related to Friday night's inauguration but the episode triggered a furious response from Russia.
The RT website said it had been using a legitimate stream from the Associated Press, and that it had been blocked after a misplaced or accidental complaint from Current Time TV, a Russian-language news programme partly run by Radio Free Europe, a broadcasting organisation funded by the US government. Current Time TV said it had not send a complaint.
Facebook will occasionally suspend accounts for copyright violation, although there are few examples of it happening to news organisations.
During the outage, the RT Facebook page was still able to post text. One update on its page said: "We were blocked while livestreaming Obama’s final press-conference. Such things happen because (for example) some other news media livestreams carry the same shots and feed, and Facebook considers this a copyright violation".
Although the incident was resolved, it could have repercussions, coming amid strained relationships between Russia and the outgoing US administration.
According to RIA, the country's communications regulator Roskomnadzor has threatened to retaliate against US news organisations.
RT's editor Margarita Simonyan, suggested something more sinister was behind the blavkout. "I’m not surprised. If the Department of State could block oxygen to us, they would do it," she told RIA.
RT is funded by Moscow and often accused of being an English-language mouthpiece for the Kremlin. Last year Natwest backed down from a threat to close its UK bank account after the threat of counter-measures against the BBC.
Facebook has been accused of failing to deal with fake news outlets, with criticism of the social network spiking around the election.