In a scathing opinion piece by the Washington Examiner’s editorial board, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is accused of colluding with Russian president Vladimir Putin after caving to pressure from Moscow to “suppress Instagram posts,” of Kremlin critics.
Washington Examiner reports:
As of this week, Mark Zuckerberg, owner of Facebook, is now directly colluding with Putin to influence world opinion in favor of the tyrant’s regime. […]
Zuckerberg created one of the world’s largest and most important platforms for spreading news and information — and fake news and disinformation. It was one of the platforms Russian and other foreign propagandists used most effectively in 2016 to pass off lies as real news stories and to spread messages designed to divide Americans by race.
But what Facebook once allowed through organizational passivity, it is now doing willfully. Zuckerberg’s company, the owner of Instagram, has caved to pressure from Moscow and has agreed to suppress Instagram posts that Putin’s critics have dug up and presented as concrete evidence of astounding official corruption.
Alexei Navalny, leader of the political opposition, alerted the world this week to Instagram posts that gave Russians and others a rare look at the high-flying lifestyle that government officials enjoy. In contrast to Putin’s manufactured image as a selfless public servant, the posts show Russia’s deputy prime minister, a powerful Putin ally, socializing on a yacht owned by Russian industrialist Oleg Deripaska, on a trip where the available evidence strongly hints they traded corrupt favors.
Recently, Facebook agreed to remove a post detailing Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s claims about a bribery scandal involving a Putin-linked oligarch Sergei Prikhodko.
YouTube is demanding Navalny remove a video detailing the corruption. Thus far, the clip has been viewed 5 million times.
Specifically, Instagram has censored model Nastya Rybka’s pro-Navalny posts.
“They are not available in Russia anymore which is really disappointing–we didn’t anticipate that Instagram would decide to comply with Russian illegal censorship requests,” a Navalny spox revealed to Fast Company.
“Navalny’s website has been blocked in Russia too,” added the spokesperson.
On Friday, the office of special counsel Robert Mueller announced that a grand jury indicted 13 Russian nationals, along with 3 Russian entities, accused of “supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald J. Trump … and disparaging Hillary Clinton.”
In a press conference today, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said the indictments show the Russian operation did not impact the result of the 2016 presidential election.