Facebook Blocks Russia Today From Posting Until Day After Trump's Inauguration

Facebook Blocks Russia Today From Posting Until Day After Trump's Inauguration

Facebook blocked RT, the Kremlin-backed English newscast outlet previously recognized as Russia Today, from posting videos, photos as well as news articles till the day after the inauguration of Donald Trump.

The ban remained enacted following a copyright grievance around a video stream of Barack Obama's press session on RT's Facebook page on Wednesday.

The social net had given RT a seventy two hour suspension but lifted it on Thursday evening. It said the original block was not connected to Friday night's inauguration but the episode triggered a furious response from Russia.

"All the features for this page owner have now been restored. We are looking into the reasons behind the temporary block," Facebook said.

The RT website says it had been using a genuine stream from the Associated Press, and that it had been blocked after an erroneous or unintended grievance from Current Time TV, a Russian-language news programme partially run by Radio Free Europe, a dissemination organisation sponsored by the US government. Current Time TV said it had not send a complaint.

Facebook will sporadically suspend accounts for copyright violation, though there are few examples of it happening to news organisations.

In the time of the outage, the RT Facebook page was 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 blackout. "I’m not surprised. If the Department of State could block oxygen to us, they would do it," she told RIA.

RT is subsidized by Moscow and often suspected 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 defendant of failing to deal with counterfeit news outlets, with criticism of the social network confounding around the election.