Facebook has blocked access to a popular anti-corruption page on its site in Russia after prosecutors there declared it an “unsanctioned mass event.”
The event was a protest in support of anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny. The Kremlin has been trying to silence Navalny for years, with state prosecutors saying on Friday that he should be sentenced to 10 years in jail over fraud charges.
But people in Russia trying to view a Facebook event organised in protest against the state’s seemingly heavy handed treatment of Navalny are unable to do so after Facebook bowed to a request by Russia’s internet regulator.
Here’s the event that has been blocked in Russia:
The Guardian reports that Roskomnadzor, the Russian body that oversees internet regulation, released a statement Sunday claiming responsibility for the block, saying that it was an “unsanctioned mass event” and it demanded Facebook limit access to social media posts advertising the meeting. Facebook complied with the order, and Russian users now can’t access the page.
The decision by Facebook to comply with the government’s request has been met by criticism by people who claim it is helping the Russian government to censor free speech in the country. Former US ambassador to Moscow Michael McFaul spoke out against the move: