Vladimir Putin declared a state of emergency after more than 20,000 tons of diesel fuel spilled into a river in the Russian Arctic.
Several miles of the Ambarnaya river were turned red after a fuel tank at a power plant in Norilsk, an industrial city in northern Siberia, collapsed on Friday.
Mr Putin berated regional officials for their slow response in a Zoom call broadcast on state television on Wednesday.
"Why did government agencies only find out about this two days after the fact?" he asked Sergei Lipin, the head of the subsidiary that runs the plant.
"Are we going to learn about emergency situations from social media?"
Yevgenny Zinichev, the head of the Emergencies Ministry and and Alexander Uss, the governor of Krasnoyarsk Krai said that they only learnt about the spill on May 31, two days after it occurred and established a true picture of the situation "only after information on social media."
Mr Uss said officials were considering burning the oil off, but that there was no precedent for attempting to do so on such a large scale and it was not clear if it would succeed.
The power plant is a subsidiary of Norilsk Nickel, the world's largest producer of nickel and palladium.
The company said in a statement that no one had been hurt by the accident and that it had deployed emergency teams to clean up the spill.
It said the spill appeared to have been caused by "a sudden sinking of supporting posts in the basement of the storage tank" and that it was reviewing the threat of melting permafrost at other storage facilities.
Russia's investigative committee, its rough equivalent of the FBI, has opened a criminal investigation. The head of the power plant has been taken into custody but has not been charged.