Maria Zakharova, the colorful spokeswoman for Russia’s Foreign Ministry, accused Facebook administrators of working for the Islamic State, after the network temporarily unpublished one of her posts on Monday.
Shortly after Moscow formally confirmed the death of Andrei Karlov, Russia’s ambassador to Turkey, Zakharova posted a photograph on Facebook, showing Karlov standing in front of Mevlut Mert Altintas, the man who would shoot him from behind moments later. Zakharova added the caption, “I don’t like when you shoot me in the back” — a reference to a famous lyric by Russian bard Vladimir Vysotsky.
The image appeared in the style of an Internet “demotivator,” which may have seemed disrespectful to some social-media users, perhaps prompting complaints.
Facebook administrators apparently thought Zakharova’s gesture was a violation of the network’s terms of service, and the photo was gone from her page, after about nine hours.
The Russian media also noticed the image disappear from Zakharova’s Facebook page, and at least one outlet, Gazeta.ru, reported that she had deleted it herself.
Zakharova soon pointed out, however, that she didn’t delete anything. In a new post, she accused Facebook’s administrators of “information subversion activity,” wondering aloud if the website was working with Islamic State members.
The deletion of a photograph of murdered Ambassador Andrei Karlov from my account by Facebook administrators isn’t censorship, but an act of information subversion activity. Does the company know who these administrators are, and what kinds of goals they pursue? Maybe they’re with the Islamic State?
Minutes later, however, Zakharova wrote again on Facebook, sharing the happy news that her original post has been restored, after “the Facebook team accidentally deleted your post.”
“Friends, thank you for the support!” Zakharova told her Facebook subscribers, celebrating their collective triumph over the forces of information subversion.
By Kevin Rothrock, Global Voices