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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia Media Watchdog Limits Twitter Access as Booking.com Delists Russian Lodgings Amid Hostilities

Sputnik News

Evan Craighead

Earlier Friday, Roskomnadzor, the Russian Service for Supervision of Communications, announced that it would begin prohibiting the country's access to Facebook due to the social media platform's discrimination against Russian outlets, including RIA Novosti, Sputnik, and Russia Today.

As Moscow continues its special operation to demilitarize and 'de-Nazify' Ukraine, Russia's media watchdog is concurrently attempting to defend itself against the discriminatory practices of both Twitter and Booking.com.

Per Roskomnadzor, access to the social media platform has been limited, and the online lodging marketplace is no longer offering patrons the opportunity to book accommodations within Russia.

The developments follow Russia's decision to block access to Facebook, which notably joined Instagram in prohibiting Russia Today and Sputnik from reaching those in the European Union.

At least 26 cases of Facebook's discriminatory practices have been observed since October 2020, the watchdog declared.

Moscow initially announced that it would partially block Facebook, citing a violation of the "rights and freedoms of Russian nationals."

Travelers attempting to plan a future excursion to Russia have also been sidelined by Booking.com, which is now refusing to offer listings based in Russia.

"0 properties are available in and around this destination," returned a Friday search for Moscow, Russia.

Meanwhile, a search for Ukraine or a specific city, such as the capital of Kiev, is accompanied by the following disclaimer: "This location is currently experiencing an armed conflict which may pose an increased risk to customers' and local communities' safety and human rights. To make an informed decision about your stay, review any travel guidelines for this area provided by your government."

The message urged potential travelers to book with a free cancellation option, as future conditions are unknown.

Nevertheless, those planning a trip can still book via a number of lodging aggregators, including Ostrovok, Tutu.ru, Yandex and other platforms, expert Alexei Volkov told RIA Novosti.

Volkov argued that Russian platforms now have room to grow in the market, as Booking.com accounted for some 35% to 40% of bookings, which made it the largest lodging marketplace in the country.

© Sputnik

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