Facebook Deleted the Account of a Ukrainian Journalist Who Criticised Its Moderators for Having Links With Banderists

On June 16th, the largest social network in the world Facebook completely deleted the account of the Ukrainian “Strana” news agency journalist Aleksey Romanov.

Now, instead of the journalist’s Facebook page, it shows a message saying “this content is not available at the moment”:

The journalist’s account was disabled after his investigation entitled “Facebook, Suprun, and ‘Sokyra Peruna‘” about the ties of Ukrainian Facebook moderators with ultra-right organisations was published by “Strana”.

Also, before his account was deleted, the journalist sent dozens of complaints to Facebook about incitement to hatred on an ethnic basis. The Ukrainian moderators of the social network at first did not react. However, after appeals were made, Facebook after all deleted the controversial content, and even apologised.

The journalist told “Strana” that his Facebook account had almost 12,000 regular readers – almost 5,000 “friends” and more than 7,000 followers.

Facebook told the journalist that the formal reason for deleting his account was that the journalist allegedly pretended to be a certain celebrity or public personality:

“The only reasonable explanation for the repression may be that I used a photograph of former President Poroshenko as an avatar. The photo was exclusively satirical: Poroshenko was depicted in it with his thumb raised up:

This photo symbolised the approval of the former government of everything that is happening in the country now. Almost all the processes happening under Zelensky go in the same direction that Poroshenko set,” said the journalist.

“However, I never wrote texts on behalf of Poroshenko. And I published all the texts only under my own name. Therefore, to accuse me of posing as a former president can only be completely inadequate. It is likely that disabling the account is just the petty revenge of the Ukrainian moderators of Facebook for the fact that I publicly criticised them for their connections with the ultra-right and outright Russophobia,” believes the journalist.

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Now, at the request of the social network, the journalist has provided documents confirming his identity. In response, Facebook said that due to the coronavirus pandemic, checking the account “may take longer than usual”:

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