RT News is receiving support from around the world amid outrage that Facebook has slapped restrictions on it until after U.S. President-elect Donald Trump is inaugurated on Friday. The social network accuses the Russian media outlet of running a pirated live-stream of outgoing President Barack Obama’s final speech. Also Dataminr, a popular news discovery tool on Twitter, has banned RT News without giving a reason.
RT News accused of pirating live stream of Obama’s speech
RT News reports on its website that a “Facebook bot” said that it will be banned until Saturday at 2:55 p.m. Eastern, which is after Trump’s inauguration the day before. The media outlet states that the ban seems to have been triggered by a spike in “misplaced live streaming rights” during Obama’s final press conference as president.
“The live-rights strike seems to be part of an algorithmic failure to acknowledge rights acquired by broadcasters, and we hope it will be resolved in the short term,” RT News’ Social Media Head Ivor Crotty said in a statement on the media outlet’s website.
Facebook has not responded to RT to explain why the restrictions have been placed on its account.
AP supports RT News
Multiple news outlets carried the live stream of the press conference, including the same feeds and shots, and Facebook considers this to be a violation of copyright, RT News explained in a Facebook post. The Russian news outlet also explained that it was carrying the live stream with translation to Russian simultaneously and that it had “all the necessary rights for that feed.”
Ruther, RT News was streaming the press conference via an AP Direct feed and was subscribed to it. AP told the company that there should have been no problems with rights or copyright violations.
“There is no reason from our side as to why RT should not have been able to freely transmit our signal via their own FB page,” AP Editorial Liaison Representative Phoebe Paulus told the news outlet in an email. “In fact, I do not believe that AP would even be able to physically restrict client’s [sic] transmissions on their own Facebook pages.”
AP assured RT News that it owned the footage that it was broadcasting and that the issue must have been on Facebook’s end.
RT News to continue text-only posts
The news outlet added that Current Time TV, which is part of Radio Liberty and financed by the U.S. State Department, filed a complaint against it on Facebook. However, Current Time TV claims that it never filed any complaints against RT or any other news organizations related to the live-stream of Obama’s speech.
Until the problem is resolved, the Russian news outlet can continue text-only posts on Facebook, Crotty said, and it will continue to do so until the restrictions are lifted. The restrictions keep RT News from posting live-streams, videos, articles, GIFs and any other content that is not purely text.
Dataminr denies service to RT News
It seems that Dataminr, a popular news discovery tool on Facebook, has taken its restrictions on RT News even further, as it has fully denied the news outlet service. According to RT, it hasn’t provided any official explanation for the ban, but it did refer to a “review of how we work with government agencies” on a phone call informing it of the denial of service.
Dataminr also referenced a notice sent to the news network on Nov. 30 regarding its decision not to renew its term of service, so the agreement between them expired on Dec. 31. No other explanation was given.
RT also reported that the FBI did receive access to Dataminr in November citing terrorist organizations’ use of the platform. However, the outlet alleges that this may contradict Twitter’s policies regarding government surveillance of users.
UPDATE 11:18 EST: RT’s Facebook is back.