Russian President Vladimir Putin makes a televised statement
Russian President Vladimir Putin makes a televised statement at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, in the early hours of July 21, 2014. Putin said on Monday the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in east Ukraine must not be used for political ends and urged separatists to allow international experts access to the crash site. Reuters

Russian authorities have convinced Facebook to shut-off a page inviting people to attend a rally in support of an opposition politician.

In Moscow, Russian users appear to have been blocked from accessing a page calling for a protest in support of a prominent dissident which could be a sign of new limits on the social media giant's ability to work as a platform for political opposition movements.

Last week, an event page was created for January 15, the day President Vladimir Putin's biggest critic Alexei Navalny will hear his verdict in a controversial embezzlement case which might send him to prison for up to 10 years.

Navalny was accused together with his brother Oleg of allegedly stealing nearly 27 million rubles which happened to be more than half a million dollars at the exchange rate at the time. The case is only one of many against him. A previous probe about an embezzlement of a state timber company saw him sentenced to five years but the sentence was eventually suspended.

According to The Verge, Russia's communications regulator Roskomnadzor has confirmed that the government requested Facebook to block the page because authorities find it as an "unauthorised mass event". This is also in connection to a controversial law that was passed this year which gives Russian regulators the power to block any site that promotes illegal demonstrations or even publish materials with "extremist" content.

On the other hand, the people behind the protest admitted that they did not intend to obtain a permit for the said action. However, such action was immediately stopped by the Russian Internet regulator. One of its spokesman even said that the government's demand to block the page is now being fulfilled by Facebook, Washington Post reports.

Some analysts also find such action as a blow for freedom of expression. Some speculates that Facebook allegedly gave way to Russian government's call due to the networking site's concerns on a possible law in Moscow that could ban all foreign-hosted social networks by next year.

The controversial Facebook event which was dubbed as "Public gathering to discuss the verdict" has had over 12,000 people to sign-up before the page was blocked. However, the page is still available via non-Russian IP's and for non-Russian users only. As of today, Facebook has remained silent on the matter. But a spokesperson from the social media said that the company is doing its own investigation on the matter.

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