Russian ‘Federal Agency of News’ (FAN) Sues Facebook For Discrimination

Written by Nitish Singh
Last updated July 12, 2021

The Federal Agency of News LLC is a Russian company that owned a Facebook page which was deleted by the social media platform in April 2018. The page was removed after the social media company claimed it was involved in Project Lakhta, a company formed to create political tension in the US Presidential Elections in 2016.

The sanction for the removal of the page was instituted by the US Department of the Treasury and Facebook acted upon the orders of the body. The social media company is now being sued for restricting free speech on behalf of the US government and discriminating against the company due to its Russian origins.

FAN identifies itself as an "independent, authentic and legitimate news agency which publishes reports that are relevant and of interest to the general public." The company is now seeking damages from Facebook, but federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti stated that the lawsuit is unlikely to be successful and is most likely just a PR stunt by the Russian company.

Facebook was dragged into controversy after the US Presidential elections in 2016 due to a large number of pages being left unchecked despite manipulating voters. The social media website has been actively removing such pages since then and had a similar ban wave ahead of the recent mid-term elections.

It is likely that Facebook believed FAN is linked to Russia’s Internet Research Agency, a company known to engage in online influence operations based on its country’s political and business needs. Project Lakhta accountant Elena Alekseevna Khusyaynova is currently employed by FAN, and the company claims that it was not involved with the online influence project.

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