Did One of Ukraine’s Leaders Write a Letter to Mark Zuckerberg?

Ukraine called on tech companies to block access to their services in Russia.

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Claim

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov wrote a letter to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, calling for the company to block access to Facebook and Instagram in Russia.

Origin

As Russian forces invaded Ukraine in late February 2022, the information war escalated as well. Russian television, and numerous posts on social media, were spreading misinformation regarding the so-called “Nazi” threat in Ukraine, and more.

In response, the Ukrainian government sent letters to numerous tech and social media companies to block access to their platforms in Russia. Deputy Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov posted some of these letters to the CEOs of Meta, YouTube, Google, and Netflix on his Instagram account.

In a letter to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg dated Feb. 25, 2022, Federov wrote: “I appeal to you to block access of the Russian Federation citizens to facebook and Instagram services! We are sure that such action will motivate youth and active population of Russia to proactively stop the disgraceful military aggression.”

A statement posted to Ukraine’s Ministry of Culture and Information Policy’s official website on Feb. 27, 2022, stated that the ministry also called on Zuckerberg to “block the Facebook pages of Russian propaganda channels” including, “Pervyy Kanal, Rossyia 1, Match TV, NTV, Piatyy Kanal, Rossiya 24, Rossiya K (Culture), Carousel, OTR, TVTzentr, REN TV, Spas, Domashnii, TV-3, Piatnitsa, Zvezda, Myr, TNT, Muz-TV and others that spread Kremlin propaganda.”

Meta posted a statement on Feb. 26, 2022, saying they were “taking extensive steps to fight the spread of misinformation by expanding our third-party fact-checking capacity in Russian and Ukrainian. We’re also providing more transparency around state-controlled media outlets, prohibiting ads from Russian state media and demonetizing their accounts.”

On Feb. 27, 2022, Meta added an update: “We have been in contact with the government of Ukraine. At their request, we have restricted access to several accounts in Ukraine, including those belonging to some Russian state media organizations. We are also reviewing other government requests to restrict Russian state controlled media.”

Fedorov tweeted more about the Ukrainian government’s appeals, and updated with responses from tech companies:

Given that all the official accounts are sharing these communications, we rate this claim as “True.”


Sources:

Fedorov, Mikhailo. https://www.instagram.com/accounts/login/?next=/p/Cab6Qrkr9La/. Accessed 28 Feb. 2022.

“MCIP Directs Letter to Mark Zuckerberg with a Call to Block Facebook Pages of Russian Propaganda Channels.” kmu.gov.ua, 27 Feb. 2022. https://www.kmu.gov.ua/en/news/mkip-napravilo-lista-marku-cukerbergu-iz-zaklikom-zablokuvati-facebook-storinki-rosijskih-propagandistskih-kanaliv. Accessed 28 Feb. 2022.

“Meta’s Ongoing Efforts Regarding Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine.” Meta, 26 Feb. 2022, https://about.fb.com/news/2022/02/metas-ongoing-efforts-regarding-russias-invasion-of-ukraine/.

“Propaganda, Fake Videos of Ukraine Invasion Bombard Users.” Snopes.Com, https://www.snopes.com/ap/2022/02/25/propaganda-fake-videos-of-ukraine-invasion-bombard-users/. Accessed 28 Feb. 2022.