Facebook and Ukraine Freedom Support Act

Tetyana Lokot reports for Global Voices:

Just one day after supporters of Putin critic and opposition figure Alexey Navalny set up a Facebook event page for a protest rally in his support, the page has been blocked for users in Russia.

Over 12 thousand Facebook users signed up to the event in the first 24 hours, signifying their support for the cause and their intention to join the rally. But today users in Russia complained the page was not available to them. The page is still open to users outside of Russia, but some users who registered their profiles in Russia can’t see it either.

The Ukraine Freedom Support Act, signed by Barack Obama last week, contains this instruction to the US government:

The Secretary of State shall, directly or through nongovernmental or international organizations… expand uncensored Internet access in the Russian Federation; and… expand free and unfettered access to independent media of all kinds in the Russian Federation…

But the Internet is a CIA invention, according to the view prevalent in the Kremlin, and so must be Facebook. How are they going to explain – to themselves – the contrast between Facebook’s craven retreat and the new US law ordering the government to help Russians to get full access to the Net? I guess explanations come easy to paranoiacs.

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