Russian state television removed by Canadian carriers, sanctioned online

Image Credit: Alamy

Russia Today (RT), Russia’s state-owned television network, has been removed by Canadian cable providers including Bell, Rogers, Shaw and Telus, and additionally faces sanctions on Facebook and Twitter.

Canadian Heritage Min. Pablo Rodriguez first Tweeted Saturday that he shared “the concerns of many Canadians about the presence of Russia Today in our broadcasting system. We’re looking at all options.”

Those concerns included an edict handed down by Russia’s communications regulator banning media outlets from describing the country’s attack on Ukraine as an “assault, invasion, or declaration of war” with each offence carrying a fine of five million rubles or USD $60,000.

Bell announced Sunday it would no longer provide carriage for the channel, with Rogers, Shaw and Telus quickly following suit.

Facebook parent company, Meta, has also restricted Russia Today with Security Policy Head Nathaniel Gleicher indicating the channel is no longer able to run ads or monetize on the social platform globally.

It’s among the steps the company says it has taken, including establishing a special operations centre staffed by native Russian and Ukrainian speakers, who are monitoring the platform around the clock, as well as expanding third-party fact-checking.

“We took down a network run by people in Ukraine and Russia targeting Ukraine for violating our policy against coordinated inauthentic behavior. They ran websites posing as independent news entities and created fake personas across many social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Telegram, Odnoklassniki and VK,” the company posted in an update late Sunday.

“We’ve also seen increased targeting of Ukrainian military and public figures by Ghostwriter, a threat actor that has been tracked for some time by the security community. We encourage people in Ukraine and Russia to adopt stronger account security measures — like two-factor authentication — to protect their information in the midst of this invasion. We continue to roll out privacy and security measures to help people in Ukraine and Russia protect their accounts from being targeted.”

Twitter is adding labels to tweets that share links to Russian state-affiliated media websites.

Yoel Roth, Head of Site Integrity at Twitter, said Monday that since the invasion the platform has seen more than 45,000 Tweets a day sharing links to Russian state-affiliated media outlets.

Twitter said it is proactively reviewing Tweets to detect platform manipulation and taking action against media that presents “a false or misleading depiction of what’s happening.”


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