Facebook’s parent company Meta has put a pause on advertisements targeting users in Russia and advertisements from Russian advertisers after the country blocked the social media platform in an intensifying crackdown on media outlets and platforms that don’t toe the Kremlin line.
“Despite the Russian government’s announcement that they will be blocking Facebook, we are working to keep our services available to the greatest extent possible. However, due to the difficulties of operating in Russia at this time, ads targeting people in Russia will be paused, and advertisers within Russia will no longer be able to create or run ads anywhere in the world, including within Russia,” the company said in a blog post regarding the same.
On March 4, Russia had blocked access to Twitter, Facebook and various news portals in an apparent attempt to have tighter control over what the Russian domestic audience reads, sees and hears about the ongoing invasion.
Prior to that, on March 2, Meta had taken steps to restrict access to Russian state-controlled media outlets RT (formerly Russia Today) and Sputnik in Europe after requests from governments and the European Union. Since then, the company has also restricted access to the outlets in the United Kingdom after requests from the country’s government.
In addition to restricting access to these portals in the European Union, Meta also implemented a policy of globally demoting the content from these outlets to make them harder to find on the company’s platforms.
In the blog post announcing the pause on ads, Meta also announced its commitment to contribute $15 million towards humanitarian efforts in Ukraine and bordering nations. This amount includes $5 million in direct donations to UN agencies and non-profit organisations like the International Medical Corps and Internews. The remaining $10 million will be given as ad credits to non-profit organisations that can use them for fundraising and delivering information.