Facebook blocks Russian 'news' media RT until after Trump inauguration

Jason Alden | Bloomberg via Getty Images

According to RT, the outlet broadcasted a transmission of President Obama's final press conference, but was stopped by a message saying the live video might belong to another outlet called Current Time TV.

The Russian news outlet claims that they were running an Associated Press stream of the press conference.

"The live-rights strike seems to be part of an algorithmic failure to acknowledge rights acquired by broadcasters, and we hope it will be resolved in the short term", said RT's social media head Ivor Crotty. However, Facebook says now that it has lifted the ban, and will look into the reasons behind the block.

Naturally, RT surmises that the U.S. government was involved in cutting off its access to social media audiences, and that Facebook is part of a larger conspiracy. "Such things happen because (for ex.) some other news media livestreams carry the same shots and feed, and Facebook considers this a copyright violation", the network said in a statement on its Facebook page.

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RT Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan held no punches when asked about the Facebook blackout in her interview with RIA Novosti, another Kremlin-funded news agency: "I'm not surprised. We are looking into the reasons behind the temporary block", a Facebook spokesperson said. It said it was blocked after a complaint from Current Time TV, a Russian language news programme which is funded by Radio Free Europe.

RT "speculated" about a link between the cutoff and a Wall Street Journal report last May that Twitter was blocking USA intelligence services from using Dataminr, a subscription service that trolls Twitter posts for potential news items.

An RT report blamed the non-continuation of service to a Wall street Journal article that reportedly criticised the microblogging service for letting RT access Dataminr "after Twitter denied the Central Intelligence Agency access to Dataminr services over fears the bureau was violating Twitter's terms of use to track individuals".

Russian state censors have also threatened "countermeasures", if not against Facebook then against unspecified U.S. news organisations.

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