"The decision is clearly political in its nature and, as a matter of fact, is practically censorship — seven [Facebook] pages belonging to our news hubs in neighbouring countries have been blocked. Sputnik editorial offices deal with news and they do it well. If this blocking is Facebook's only reaction to the quality of the media’s work, then we have no questions, everything is clear here. But there is still hope that common sense will prevail. Read Sputnik," Sputnik's press service said.
Earlier in the day, Facebook said that it had shut down over 500 pages, groups and accounts that were allegedly involved in "coordinated inauthentic behavior" on Facebook and Instagram and represented a network reportedly originating in Russia. The social network, in particular, claimed that Facebook pages which were thought to independently disseminate news or provide content of general interest to its subscribers "were linked to employees of Sputnik." The removed pages covered such topics as protest movements and corruption in Baltic countries, Central Asia, Caucasus, as well as in Central and Eastern Europe.
Russia-based media Sputnik and RT have repeatedly come under attack by Western officials, who blamed the news outlets for alleged attempts to sway public opinion worldwide. The leadership of the broadcasters, as well as the Russian authorities, dismissed the claims saying, that mainstream media were not interested in the presence of an alternative coverage of events and condemned the accusations as attacks on free media.