Facebook lifts ban, allows RT to post content

Moscow: After an “unexplained” 20-hour ban on Russian television network RT posting content on its Facebook page till Donald Trump takes oath as US President, the social networking giant on Friday lifted the restriction, allowing RT to go live.

Facing criticism for allegedly spreading fake news that favoured Trump and racial bias in hate speech censorship, a Facebook bot banned RT from posting content on its page on Thursday.

“RT’s right to share such content as live streams, images and videos with its over four million followers on its Facebook page were restored. The ban was put in place shortly after RT’s broadcast of Barack Obama’s final press conference as president,” RT (formerly Russia Today) said in a report.

The ban was supposed to last until Saturday (10:55 pm Moscow time).

“The live-rights strike seems to be part of an algorithmic failure to acknowledge rights acquired by broadcasters and we hope it will be resolved in the short term,” RT’s Head of Social Media, Ivor Crotty, was quoted as saying.

“While Facebook is a powerful distributor of live-streams, it is struggling with the rights ramifications. RT will continue text-only posts to Facebook until the issue is resolved,” Crotty added.

RT was live during outgoing US President Barack Obama’s final press conference when a Facebook bot notification interrupted RT’s live stream, stating that rights to the content had been claimed by Current Time TV, a project of Radio Liberty in collaboration with the Voice of America.

“Radio Liberty is an independent corporation, financed by the US Congress,” the report said.

Current Time TV denied any complaint against the Russian media outlet and said that the channel did not send any complaints regarding RT or any other organisations in connection with the live feed.

On Thursday, 77 advocacy groups wrote a letter to the social media giant asking it to be more transparent about its censorship decisions.

In the open letter, the advocacy groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), asked Facebook to be more transparent about its censorship decisions and sought a report that compiles data on the company’s censorship decisions.