Postbellum Content Moderation and Platform Governance: Lessons from Ukraine

Days after the invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces, Facebook and Twitter announced a total ban on paid ads from Russian state-funded media channels. After a mutual escalation, Russia’s telecom regulatory authority, Roskomnadzor (Роскомнадзор), decided to block access to both platforms within the national territory. Moreover, the Russian parliament passed a new “fake news law” to criminalize the distribution of “false information” about the conflict in Ukraine, such as calling it an “invasion”. The clash between Russian authorities and social media companies can teach us a few lessons about content moderation and platform governance both during and after wartime. In this paper, I explore these lessons from a digital constitutionalist perspective and try to answer the following questions: what the isolation of Russia from the West means for content moderation and platform governance in a postbellum period? Should platforms compromise their policies to dodge a full-scale blockage?