Start Europe Russian company sued Facebook

Russian company sued Facebook

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Facebook has blocked more than 270 Russian-language pages and accounts because they were said to have been involved in influencing the 2016 US election campaign. A self-descriptive news medium behind one of these sites is now resisting it. As reported by several news agencies, the Russian Federal Agency of News (FAN) has filed a lawsuit against the social network because she sees her page unduly deleted and accuses Facebook of censorship.

The network had cleared FAN’s page in April when it was against sites affiliated with the St. Petersburg Internet Research Agency. The IT company owned by Kremlin-related Russian oligarch Yevgeny Prigzhin was accused by American special investigator Robert Mueller for trying to manipulate the American election with false news.

Chief Financial Officer of Russia’s trolls

The American investigators have stated, according to a Kremlin controlled disinformation campaign called „Project Lakhta“. This had already begun in 2014 to spread manipulative news, and was funded by Prigoshin.

FAN admitted to employ the head of finance of „Projekt Lakhta“ as its own CFO since August 2016. They also shared an office building with the Internet Research Agency. However, it is an „independent, genuine and legitimate news agency that publishes reports that are relevant and of public interest,“ as the company’s lawsuit states.

FAN claims damages from Facebook and has applied for a restraining order to force the network to release its account. The company filed suit in federal district court in the northern district of California, where Facebook is based.

Former US Attorney Renato Mariotti said FAN allegations are weak. „It’s safe to say that this lawsuit will not be very successful,“ Mariotti told Reuters. „At first glance, it looks like a PR stunt to me.“