News ID: 269828
Published: 0237 GMT June 06, 2020

Facebook labels Press TV, Russia’s Sputnik, China’s Xinhua

Facebook labels Press TV, Russia’s Sputnik, China’s Xinhua

Facebook said it has started to label Iran’s Press TV, Russia’s Sputnik, and China's Xinhua News Agency as “state-media,” adding it will later block them from running advertisements in the United States.

The social media giant said it will initially apply the label to about 200 pages belonging to these outlets.

The labels, Facebook said, will immediately start appearing on pages globally, as well as on newsfeed posts within the United States, according to Press TV.

The decision to label these media outlets came after they published articles and videos of widespread US protests against police violence and systemic racism in the country following the shocking death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man at the hands of white officers in Minneapolis.

It also comes ahead of the November presidential election in the US. 

Facebook is already under fire for refusing to label US President Donald Trump’s recent posts which many people argue are fomenting violence against protesters who had taken to the streets in anger at the death of George Floyd. 

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, has repeatedly defended himself by claiming that it was not the responsibility of his company to police political speech.

It seems that Facebook has labeled the Iranian, Chinese and Russian media outlets under pressure from the US government which has made sanctions a weapon of choice.

While banning the Iranian, Chinese and Russian networks for being “state-media,” the company has said it will not label any US government-run outlets because they allegedly had editorial independence.

China on Friday slammed Facebook for its decision to apply labels to Xinhua, saying social media firms should not selectively choose media agencies and block them.

“Any media agency operating in line with relevant laws of various countries should be treated equally,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said.

This is not the first time Facebook is targeting media outlets. 

In 2018, Facebook targeted hundreds of accounts allegedly tied to Iran and Russia under the pretext of fighting what it calls “misinformation” campaigns. Among the accounts was one belonging to the Quest for Truth (Q4T) Iranian media organization, which promotes Islamic values.

The social media giant is also known for blocking pages critical of the Israeli regime.

Twitter and YouTube have also conducted specific bans targeting accounts allegedly linked to countries that are critical of the policies of Western governments, such as accounts in Iran, Russia, and Venezuela.

The United States has a history of calling on social media companies Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to block Iranian accounts specifically as part of its so-called “maximum pressure” campaign against the Islamic Republic.

In December last year, Google targeted Iranian broadcasters Press TV and Hispan TV, blocking access to their official YouTube accounts without any prior notice.



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