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Facebook briefly pulls page used by Iranian state broadcaster

The Facebook page of Press TV was unavailable for several hours on Tuesday before it was restored.

The Facebook page of Press TV was unavailable for several hours on Tuesday before it was restored.

The logo of Iranian state broadcaster Press TV. (Graphic by The Desk)

The Facebook page used by Iranian state-run news outlet Press TV was briefly pulled from the social media site on Tuesday, according to information provided by the broadcaster.

In a Twitter post, a Press TV spokesperson said no warning was given before Facebook decided to pull the page, and it wasn’t clear why the page was removed.

Press TV officials filed an appeal with Facebook, and the page was restored a few hours later, though it lacked Facebook’s official “verified” badge.

More than 3 million people follow Press TV on Facebook. The broadcaster, which is operated by the Iranian state government, produces news reports and documentaries in English for a worldwide audience. It competes internationally with other government-run English-language news channels, including RT, Deutsche Welle and Al Jazeera English.

It’s not the first time a social media company has blocked Press TV from accessing its services: Last September, Google-owned YouTube suspended Press TV’s official account, citing “violations of export laws” as its reason behind the move.

Press TV maintains its reporting is unbiased, though it has drawn criticism for some news bulletins in the past that were viewed as skewing toward official and misleading accounts promoted by the government of Iran.

In 2012, Press TV’s broadcast license was revoked in the United Kingdom after regulators there determined the Iranian government had closer editorial control over the channel than was disclosed when it applied for the license. Press TV called the license revocation a “clear instance of censorship.”

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).