Moscow’s censors on Friday banned Facebook and throttled other American social media services. Microsoft banned sales to Russians, following a similar move by Apple. And a leading American conduit of Internet data, Cogent Communications, severed ties with its Russian clients to prevent its networks from being used for propaganda or cyberattacks aimed at beleaguered Ukrainians.
Taken together, these and other events likely will make it harder for Russians to track the horrors unfolding in Ukraine at a time when Russia’s own independent media has been almost completely shut down by President Vladimir Putin. On an even larger scale, these moves bring Russia closer to the day when its online networks face largely inward, their global connections weakened, if not cut off entirely.
It’s a conundrum for companies serving Russia and Russian people with services that might both facilitate the war in Ukraine AND inform Russians about the war. The fact that companies are doing it is something for other communities to consider. It highlights the essential role or broadband and technology in a daily society and the importance of having policies and partnerships in place in case something should happen where service might be in jeopardy.