On Friday, the Russian national communications agency announced that the Facebook social media platform is now blocked nationwide in that country. They claimed that this was due to instances of "discrimination against Russian media and information resources" on the platform.
The White House said that they were "deeply concerned" about the Russian citizens being cut off from "a range of information." Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that "This is part of their effort... to cut off a range of information from their public."
"There a concerning steps they have taken to crack down on any form of information being shared with their public. Certainly Facebook is a part of that. They've also threatened fines for journalists who are reporting on the ground," Psaki said.
"They've conveyed that there are only certain words their own Russian media can use, at the risk of being fined or even jailed. This is a pattern," she said, "this is not necessarily a new approach that they have taken. But to crack down on information in their country to reach the Russian people."
She said that the White House is "deeply concerned about this, and concerned about the threat on freedom of speech in the country."
According to The Verge, "the block comes after increasing domestic protests over the country’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine."
"Russians have taken to the streets in massive numbers to protest the ongoing invasion, provoking thousands of arrests," The Verge writes. "The regime has denied any plans to institute martial law, but has issued ongoing threats to outlets that publish information critical of the ongoing war effort."
"Soon millions of ordinary Russians will find themselves cut off from reliable information, deprived of their everyday ways of connecting with family and friends and silenced from speaking out," commented Nick Clegg, who is in charge of global affairs for the Meta Group, which runs Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram.
"We will continue to do everything we can to restore our services so they remain available to people to safely and securely express themselves and organize for action," further commented Clegg.