Here in the United States, we’re often concerned with what Facebook is doing with our personal information. However, we have it easy compared to Facebook users abroad, where the site mostly complies with government rules and edicts no matter how strict. Case in point: this week, the social media giant blocked a Facebook event page organized to support Alexei Navalny, an outspoken critic of Vladimir Putin.
Russian prosecutors announced last week that Navalny should be sent to prison for 10 years for embezzlement charges that many believe were drummed up by the government to silence Navalny’s criticism. A Facebook page was set up to organize a demonstration standing behind Navalny, and more than 12,300 people had joined by Saturday. However, the page was soon blocked. Russia said that it asked Facebook to block the page because it was trying to organize an “unauthorized mass event” that could “infringe the public order.”
Facebook blocked 29 pieces of content in Russia at the behest of the Russian government during the first half of 2014, and Twitter has similarly censored its users in the country. The role of social media was praised during the Arab Spring movement in Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries for giving a voice to people living under harsh governments. However, Facebook has now almost entirely reversed its course.
Readers: what do you think of Facebook working with repressive governments like this?