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Fake News: Putin Did NOT Ban Microsoft Products From Russia

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Mon, 04 Mar 2019 09:00:35 Z)

Did Russian President Vladimir Putin ban all Microsoft products from Russia? No, that's not true: a 2016 article was reposted to Facebook by website that has a reputation for making up unsubstantiated claims in its headlines that are not backed by the content of the articles it links to.

The story originated from an article (archived here) on NewsPunch where it was published on September 30, 2016 (when the site was still named YourNewsWire) under the title "Putin Bans Microsoft Products From Russia". It opened:

Russian President Vladimir Putin has banned Microsoft products from Russia, citing "concerns over security and reliability."

Government spokesman Sergei Zheleznyak explained that Microsoft had been caught carrying out "minute-by-minute surveillance" on millions of Russian citizens - as well as citizens of other countries.

"The US, which presents itself as a bastion of democracy, has in fact been carrying out minute-by-minute surveillance of tens of millions of citizens of Russia and other countries."

Screenshot of https://newspunch.com/putin-bans-microsoft-russia/

The story then linked to a Bloomberg article from 2016:

Moscow Drops Microsoft on Putin's Call for Self-Sufficiency - Bloombe...

Blue Arrow City hall switching to local software installed by Rostelecom Blue Arrow Russia cuts dependence on U.S. tech amid political tensions Moscow city will replace Microsoft Corp. programs with domestic software on thousands of computers in answer to President Vladimir Putin's call for Russia's authorities to reduce dependence on foreign technology amid tensions with the U.S.

That story makes no reference to a "ban" on Microsoft products. It speaks about local authorities following a call form Putin to try and replace foreign software with local versions:

Moscow city will replace Microsoft Corp. programs with domestic software on thousands of computers in answer to President Vladimir Putin's call for Russia's authorities to reduce dependence on foreign technology amid tensions with the U.S. and Europe.

But Russians (and local governments/authorities) would still be free to use whatever software they want, except of course for those specifically named by U.S. sanctions:

Ukraine and Russia Sanctions

These actions, in close coordination with our EU and international partners, send a strong message to the Russian government that there are consequences for their actions that threaten the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. The United States, together with international partners, will continue to stand by the Ukrainian government until Russia abides by its international obligations.

But despite the story being over two years old and not true the article was reposted on March 4, 2019 (archive of post here) to the Facebook page for YourNewsWire (which was renamed to NewsPunch last year):

NewsPunch (formerly YourNewsWire) has published several hoaxes and fake news articles in the past so anything they write or publish should be taken with a large grain of salt. Their Facebook page "The People's Voice" even lost its verification checkmark according to a report from MMFA.

The Terms of Use of the site (archived here, still referencing YourNewsWire) also make it clear they don't really stand behind the accuracy of any of their reporting:

THE PEOPLE'S VOICE, INC. AND/OR ITS SUPPLIERS MAKE NO REPRESENTATIONS ABOUT THE SUITABILITY, RELIABILITY, AVAILABILITY, TIMELINESS, AND ACCURACY OF THE INFORMATION, SOFTWARE, PRODUCTS, SERVICES AND RELATED GRAPHICS CONTAINED ON THE SITE FOR ANY PURPOSE.

The site was profiled in the Hollywood reporter where it was described as:

Your News Wire, a 3-year-old website of murky facts and slippery spin, is published by Sean Adl-Tabatabai and Sinclair Treadway -- a Bernie Sanders supporter in 2016 -- out of an apartment in L.A.'s historic El Royale.

RationalWiki described it as:

YourNewsWire (styled as YourNewsWire.com[1]) is an Los Angeles-based clickbait fake news website known for disseminating conspiracy theories and misleading information, contrary to its claimed motto ("News. Truth. Unfiltered").[1]

A while ago we reported that YourNewsWire had rebranded itself as NewsPunch by changing its domain name in an apparent effort to evade filtering/blocking.

About the author:

Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

About Lead Stories

Lead Stories uses the Trendolizer™ engine to detect the most trending stories from known fake news, satire and prank websites and tries to debunk them as fast as possible. Read more about how we work and how we select stories to check here.

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