Facebook Bans Russia's RT News Ahead of Trump Inauguration

Tracy FergusonJan 20, 2017

According to the RT Website, RT was using a legitimate stream from the Associated Press.

A post on RT's own Facebook page from around 5 am IST on Thursday, January 19, reads: "We're now blocked from new posts or shares to FB". The network imposed restrictions on RT right at the moment the channel was broadcasting Barack Obama's news conference. According to RT, it hasn't provided any official explanation for the ban, but it did refer to a "review of how we work with government agencies" on a phone call informing it of the denial of service. "Such things happen because (for ex.) some other news media livestreams carry the same shots and feed, and Facebook considers this a copyright violation", it wrote on its page, where it can still post text but no images, videos or links.

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Responding to YouTube's alleged inquiry concerning sanctions, RT Editor in Chief Margarita Simonyan wrote on Twitter: "This is war". "I'm not surprised. If the Department of State could block oxygen to us, they would do it", Simonyan told Russian state news agency RIA Novosti.

RT, which has been accused of helping Russian Federation interfere in the 2016 presidential election, is disputing that it was broadcasting illegally, and the network has claimed that it was using an Associated Press Direct feed, which it is officially subscribed to.

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But it is funded by the Kremlin, and in the wake of allegations that the Russian government tipped the scales to Donald Trump, intelligence sources have claimed it was part of a "disinformation" campaign targeted at American social media users. However, the organization's vocal support for president-elect Donald Trump led some to think the timing of the ban was suspicious, especially given the recent news from US intelligence agencies that pointed to Russia's involvement in trying to influence the USA elections.

Current Time TV sent RT a statement stating that, "the channel has not sent any complaints regarding RT or any other organizations in connection with the live feed". "We have determined that during testing for inaugural coverage, RT's signal was mistakenly routed onto the primary encoder feeding C-SPAN1's signal to the internet, rather than to an unused backup".

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