In an act of what some call “blatant censorship,” on Friday, the U.S.-based social media giant suspended Facebook accounts of video news channel Soapbox; a history channel named, Backthen; the environmental show, Waste-Ed; and two alternate media sources: In the Now and Maffick Media.
Censorship watch: Facebook suspends "In The Now" a German registered Russian government funded media outlet with nearly 4 million subscribers, which produced popular short videos by Lebanese-American Rania Khalek, that were typically critical of US & Israeli policy. https://t.co/JzOGjpOmyp
Maffick CEO Anissa Naouai told RT that in the last three days, Facebook has not contacted the company and, although they have never detailed their funding source on their page, neither do any of the US-sponsored counterparts.
“It is blatant censorship. What else can you call it?”
In an interview with Business Insider, a Facebook spokesman said that “people” shouldn’t be mislead about the agency’s supporting them and the company will be more aggressively pursuing “coordinated inauthentic behavior and financially motivated spam.”
On its homepage, Maffick wrote, “Why single us out? One reason and one reason only: The government that helps fund our company is Russia. We did not violate any of Facebook’s policies whatsoever. None of our content promotes disinformation or fake news. Yet CNN pressured Facebook into unprecedented censorship in a desperate attempt to milk ratings by stoking hysteria over Russia.
“This type of new McCarthyism deserves to be called out and needs to stop. We hope that Facebook will articulate clear, consistent policies and protocols regarding obligatory funding disclosures which will be applied evenly across all pages. In the meantime, please turn our pages back on so we can keep publishing top quality social videos,” the site said.
Naouai told RT she believes the suspension is connected to Russia’s relationship to Venezuela. The United States is among the few and the most powerful countries supporting self-declared interim president and opposition lawmaker, Juan Guaido, who lead an attempted coup in the Bolivarian nation on Jan. 23.
“There is a very… divisive and obnoxious policy taking place right now against Venezuela. We do not know if this was the segment that triggered [the suspension] but the timing is convenient,” said Naouai.
Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, “It is no secret that unfortunately, unfriendly countries have been using big companies that provide services in the social media area and on other digital platforms in order to put pressure on the Russian media. We have seen it many times.”
Such behavior only tarnishes the reputation of these “rather respected international companies.”