Facebook and TikTok block Russian state media in Europe : NPR

Fb’s mum or dad firm Meta mentioned in an announcement that it had obtained requests from plenty of governments and the European Union “to take additional steps in relation to Russian state managed media.”

Jenny Kane/AP file picture


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Fb’s mum or dad firm Meta mentioned in an announcement that it had obtained requests from plenty of governments and the European Union “to take additional steps in relation to Russian state managed media.”

Jenny Kane/AP file picture

Fb, TikTok and Microsoft are cracking down on Kremlin-backed information retailers RT and Sputnik following the European Union’s ban on Russian state media.

“We have now obtained requests from plenty of governments and the EU to take additional steps in relation to Russian state managed media. Given the distinctive nature of the present scenario, we can be proscribing entry to RT and Sputnik throughout the EU presently,” mentioned Nick Clegg, vice chairman of world affairs at Fb mum or dad Meta.

A spokesperson for TikTok informed NPR it was additionally blocking the 2 retailers within the EU. The strikes imply folks utilizing the social media apps in EU international locations will not be capable to entry pages or content material posted by RT and Sputnik.

Microsoft on Monday mentioned it will drop RT’s information apps from its smartphone app retailer, not show any RT or Sputnik content material on its Microsoft Begin information feed and MSN.com, and push the websites down in Bing search outcomes.

On Sunday, EU President Ursula von der Leyen introduced a ban on the 2 retailers, which she described as “the Kremlin’s media machine.”

“The state-owned Russia Immediately and Sputnik, and their subsidiaries, will now not be capable to unfold their lies to justify Putin’s warfare,” she tweeted.

The Russian media retailers have emerged as a flashpoint for social media platforms, that are beneath stress to curb Russian propaganda and disinformation in regards to the warfare in Ukraine.

RT and Sputnik have amassed giant followings on apps together with Fb, Instagram and YouTube, the place they push a pro-Kremlin agenda. RT, which has greater than 7 million followers on its major Fb web page and 4.6 million subscribers to its major YouTube channel, has framed Russia’s invasion as a response to Ukrainian aggression and toed the Kremlin’s line in calling it a “particular operation.”

Google and Fb are additionally blocking Russian state media in Ukraine on the request of the federal government there. Together with Microsoft, they’ve additionally lower off state-backed retailers from utilizing their promoting instruments.

Earlier on Monday, Twitter mentioned it will put warning labels on tweets with hyperlinks to tales from Russian state media. It is also making it much less doubtless folks will see these tweets, just like what it has finished with false claims in regards to the 2020 election and COVID-19.

Editor’s be aware: Meta pays NPR to license NPR content material. Microsoft is amongst NPR’s monetary supporters.

NPR’s Bobby Allyn contributed to this report.

US, EU, UK to sanction Russian central bank, block SWIFT

A Ukrainian soldier walks previous particles of a burning navy truck, on a road in Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday. The USA, European Union and the UK on Saturday agreed to place in place crippling sanctions on the Russian monetary sector. (Efrem Lukatsky, Related Press)

Estimated learn time: 5-6 minutes

WASHINGTON — The USA, European Union and the UK on Saturday agreed to place in place crippling sanctions on the Russian monetary sector, together with a block on its entry to the worldwide monetary system and, for the primary time, restrictions on its central financial institution in retaliation for its invasion of Ukraine.

The measures have been introduced collectively as a part of a brand new spherical of economic sanctions meant to “maintain Russia to account and collectively make sure that this warfare is a strategic failure” for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The central financial institution restrictions goal the greater than $600 billion in reserves that the Kremlin has at its disposal, meant to restrict Russia’s potential to assist the ruble amid tightening Western sanctions.

Cumulatively the steps taken by the West since Russia started the invasion would doubtlessly quantity to among the hardest sanctions on any nation in fashionable instances, and should severely harm the Russian economic system and markedly constrain its potential to import and export items.

U.S. officers stated Saturday’s steps have been framed to ship the ruble into “free fall” and promote hovering inflation within the Russian economic system. They famous that beforehand introduced sanctions have already had an influence on Russia, bringing its foreign money to its lowest stage in opposition to the greenback in historical past and giving its inventory market the worst week on file.

Saturday’s transfer contains slicing key Russian banks out of the SWIFT monetary messaging system, which day by day strikes numerous billions of {dollars} round greater than 11,000 banks and different monetary establishments all over the world. The tremendous print of the sanctions was nonetheless being ironed out over the weekend, officers stated, as they work to restrict the influence of the restrictions on different economies and European purchases of Russian power.

Allies on either side of the Atlantic additionally thought-about the SWIFT choice in 2014, when Russia invaded and annexed Ukraine’s Crimea and backed separatist forces in japanese Ukraine. Russia declared then that kicking it out of SWIFT can be equal to a declaration of warfare. The allies — criticized ever after for responding too weakly to Russia’s 2014 aggression — shelved the thought. Russia since then has tried to develop its personal monetary switch system, with restricted success.

Civilian Members of a territorial defense unit fit their weapons to repel the Russian attacking forces in Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday. The United States, European Union and the United Kingdom on Saturday agreed to put in place crippling sanctions on the Russian financial sector.
Civilian Members of a territorial protection unit match their weapons to repel the Russian attacking forces in Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday. The USA, European Union and the UK on Saturday agreed to place in place crippling sanctions on the Russian monetary sector. (Photograph: Mikhail Palinchak, Related Press)

The U.S. has succeeded earlier than in persuading the Belgium-based SWIFT system to kick out a rustic — Iran, over its nuclear program. However kicking Russia out of SWIFT may additionally damage different economies, together with these of the U.S. and key ally Germany.

The disconnection from SWIFT introduced by the West on Saturday is partial, leaving Europe and the USA room to escalate penalties additional later.

Saying the measures in Brussels, EU Fee President Ursula von der Leyen stated she would push the bloc additionally to “paralyze the property of Russia’s Central financial institution” in order that its transactions can be frozen. Chopping a number of industrial banks from SWIFT “will make sure that these banks are disconnected from the worldwide monetary system and hurt their potential to function globally,” she added.

“Chopping banks off will cease them from conducting most of their monetary transactions worldwide and successfully block Russian exports and imports,” she added. “Putin launched into a path aiming to destroy Ukraine, however what he’s additionally doing, in truth, is destroying the way forward for his personal nation.”

Getting the EU on board for sanctioning Russia via SWIFT had been a troublesome course of since EU commerce with Russia amounted to 80 billion euros, about 10 instances as a lot as the USA, which had been an early proponent of such measures.

Germany particularly had balked on the measure because it may hit them onerous. However Overseas Minister Annalena Baerbock stated in a press release that “after Russia’s shameless assault … we’re working onerous on limiting the collateral harm of decoupling (Russia) from SWIFT in order that it hits the best individuals. What we’d like is a focused, useful restrictions of SWIFT.”

As one other measure, the allies introduced a dedication “to taking measures to restrict the sale of citizenship — so-called golden passports — that permit rich Russians linked to the Russian authorities turn into residents of our nations and achieve entry to our monetary techniques.”


Putin launched into a path aiming to destroy Ukraine, however what he’s additionally doing, in truth, is destroying the way forward for his personal nation.

–Ursula von der Leyen, EU Fee president


The group additionally introduced the formation this week of a transatlantic process pressure to make sure that these and different sanctions on Russia are applied successfully via data sharing and asset freezes.

“These new sanctions, which embody eradicating a number of Russian banks from SWIFT and sanctioning Russia’s central financial institution, are prone to trigger critical harm to the Russian economic system and its banking system,” stated Clay Lowery, government vice chairman of the Institute of Worldwide Finance. “Whereas particulars on how the brand new sanctions have an effect on power are nonetheless rising, we do know that sanctions on its central financial institution will make it harder for Russia to export power and different commodities.”

Rachel Ziemba, an adjunct senior fellow on the Heart for a New American Safety, stated regardless of an entire SWIFT ban, “these measures will nonetheless be painful to Russia’s economic system. They reinforce the measures already taken earlier this week by making transactions extra difficult and tough.”

Ziemba says how a lot ache the sanctions render on the Russian economic system will rely upon which banks have been restricted and which measures are taken to limit the flexibility of the Central Financial institution to function.

“Regardless, these form of escalating sanctions, eradicating banks from SWIFT, proscribing the Central Financial institution, this can all make it harder to get commodities from Russia and can improve the strain on the monetary market.”

Contributing: Frank Jordan, Ken Candy and Fatima Hussein

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Justice Dept. Plans to Block $13 Billion Deal by UnitedHealth Group

WASHINGTON — The Justice Division plans on Thursday to sue to dam a $13 billion acquisition of a well being know-how firm by a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group, stated two individuals conversant in the matter stated, within the newest transfer by the Biden administration to clamp down on company consolidation.

The company plans to argue {that a} deal by UnitedHealth to purchase the well being tech agency Change Healthcare would give UnitedHealth delicate information that it may wield in opposition to its rivals within the insurance coverage enterprise, stated the 2 individuals, who weren’t approved to publicly focus on the matter. The go well with is anticipated to be filed within the U.S. District Court docket for the District of Columbia.

A spokeswoman for the Justice Division declined to remark. The businesses didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark.

The deal could be the newest transaction to run into opposition from the Biden administration, which has made countering company consolidation a central a part of its financial agenda. President Biden signed an govt order final 12 months to spur competitors in several industries. He additionally appointed Lina Khan, a distinguished critic of the tech giants, to guide the Federal Commerce Fee, and Jonathan Kanter, a lawyer who has represented giant firms, as chief of antitrust efforts on the Justice Division.

Since then, the F.T.C. has blocked Lockheed Martin from shopping for a maker of missile propulsion methods and the chip big Nvidia from buying the design agency Arm. Even earlier than Mr. Kanter was confirmed, the Justice Division sued to dam the merger of two main insurance coverage brokers; the acquisition of Simon & Schuster by the writer Penguin Random Home; and a deal that may have married a few of JetBlue’s operations with American Airways’s.

The deliberate lawsuit on Thursday is about to problem a deal made by Optum, a subsidiary of UnitedHealth that stated final 12 months it could purchase Change Healthcare, which gives know-how providers to insurers. UnitedHealth is without doubt one of the largest well being firms within the nation, with $287.6 billion in income in 2021. Along with its well being care data know-how enterprise, its Optum unit owns doctor practices, a big chain of surgical procedure facilities and one of many nation’s largest pharmacy profit managers.

On the middle of the D.O.J.’s deliberate lawsuit is the info that Change Healthcare gathers when it helps course of insurance coverage claims. The Justice Division plans to argue that the deal would allow UnitedHealth to see the foundations that its rivals use to course of claims and undercut them. UnitedHealth may additionally crunch information about sufferers at different insurers to achieve a aggressive benefit, the lawsuit is anticipated to say, in line with the 2 individuals conversant in the matter.

The lawsuit can also be anticipated to say that UnitedHealth may withhold Change Healthcare’s merchandise — that are utilized by different insurers — from its rivals or save a few of its new improvements for itself, the individuals stated. The Justice Division plans so as to add that the deal would give UnitedHealth a monopoly over a kind of service that’s used to display screen insurance coverage claims for errors and velocity up processing, the 2 individuals stated.

The businesses have stated that the acquisition will enhance effectivity within the trade. In addition they explored promoting the a part of Change Healthcare that the Justice Division stated would give UnitedHealth a brand new monopoly.

Lawmakers and regulators have more and more anxious that huge companies may use troves of information to harm their rivals. A congressional committee has investigated whether or not Amazon makes use of information from exterior retailers who use its platform to develop competing merchandise, for instance. Critics of Fb have additionally argued that the corporate having years of person information makes it troublesome for an upstart service to problem its dominance.

Since Mr. Kanter joined the antitrust division on the Justice Division, critics have stated that he shouldn’t oversee instances in opposition to firms whose rivals he represented whereas in personal follow. Based on a monetary disclosure kind he filed final 12 months, he as soon as represented Cigna, a significant insurer that competes with UnitedHealth, and the distant well being care firm Teladoc.

Mr. Kanter has not participated within the lawsuit in opposition to UnitedHealth, one of many individuals with data of the Justice Division’s case stated.

Reed Abelson contributed reporting.