Russia Reportedly Blocks Access to Twitter, Facebook, App Stores and News Sites – CNET

Russia Reportedly Blocks Access to Twitter, Facebook, App Stores and News Sites – CNET

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Sarah Tew/CNET

This story is part of War in Ukraine, CNET’s coverage of events there and of the wider effects on the world.

Russia has reportedly blocked access to several big app stores, Western news organizations and social media sites.

Der Spiegel reporter Mathieu von Rohr tweeted that Russia has blocked Twitter and Facebook, news organizations BBC and Deutsche Welle, and app stores, though he didn’t specify whether this referred to the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. 

The Latvian-based news site Meduza claimed in a blog post that many readers in Russia couldn’t access the organization’s website.

Apple, Google, Facebook, Twitter, BBC, and Deutsche Well did not respond to comment at the time of publication.

Read more: Big Tech’s Support for Ukraine Recasts Industry’s Global Role

In response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Ukraine’s tech minister asked Apple CEO Tim Cook to block App Store access in Russia. The tech giant didn’t go that far when it took action days ago, choosing instead to pull access to RT News and Sputnik News from the App Store outside Russia and stop selling products in Russia. Facebook and YouTube have also restricted access to Russian state-controlled media like RT and Sputnik.  

Other tech companies have responded to the invasion by limiting sales in the country to comply with official US sanctions and restricting service. But some have tried to balance punitive action without cutting off local access, resulting in moves like those from Snapchat, which has halted ad sales in Russia while keeping the app live in Ukraine, Russia and Belarus as a communications tool. 

CNET’s Stephen Shankland explains that blocking access to app stores, western news sites and social media could encourage a “splinternet” that isolates Russian online interaction from the rest of the world. 

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