Look who’s crying about “fake news” now.
According to Russian news agency TASS, Moscow’s diplomats asked Facebook to take down a parody of their Slovakian embassy’s page, but the social media site blocked the real one instead.
“Our Facebook account, which is mostly in the Slovak language, has been temporarily blocked but it may be deleted and we don’t know the reason,” embassy spokesman Nikolai Levshunov said. “At the same time, the fake account is still there.”
“They post bare faced lies about events in Russia and Slovakia,” Levshunov complained.
After Facebook’s error, the satirical page changed its name to “The Soviet Embassy in Czechoslovakia.”
Facebook unblocked the real page after confirming that it did belong to the real embassy. But because irony is now dead, the Russian Foreign Ministry is claiming that the parody pages are part of an organized campaign against them.
Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told TASS that the incident was “part of the information war against Russia.” Interviewed by Russkiy Mir, a Kremlin propaganda organ, she insisted that “professionals” are moderating the fake pages.
“The emergence of these sites are seen in the context of a new round of information aggression from the West,” Zakharova told Czech news service aktualne.cz, which reports that the parody site is run by someone who also operates a parody account of the country’s presidential spokesman.
Complicating the situation, Facebook has no presence in Russia, which has threatened to block the social network if it didn’t enforce censorship rules against bloggers and meet their “privacy requirements.”
Without a point of contact, Russia’s foreign ministry turned to Roskomnadzor, the state media regulation and control agency, in order to resolve the issue. The entire process took three days.
Russia is still not satisfied, however, because the parody page is still up. According to The Spectator, the secretary of the diplomatic mission in Slovakia has complained because “no repressive measures were made towards the administrator of the false site.”
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