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May 22, 2015

Social media giants get warning from Russian watchdog

The companies could be banned in the country.


Silicon Valley giants Google, Twitter and Facebook have received a warning letter from Russia’s media watchdog, Roskomnadzor, stating that it will block the sites in the country if they fail to comply with Russian Internet laws.

The watchdog alleged that all the three websites contain information that criticise Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Roskomnadzor spokesman Vadim Ampelonsky said that the US firms use encryption technologies which don’t allow blocking of specific websites, which could force the watchdog to block the whole services.

In order to escape fines and blocks, the companies will have to provide data on Russian bloggers with more than 3,000 readers per day, as well as take down websites that Roskomnadzor categorises under "unsanctioned protests and unrest".

Putin once said that the internet is a CIA project and promised that it will not put internet under full government control.

According to a law passed in the country last year, Russian prosecutors were given the right to block websites, especially blogs that contained information about protests without sanction of the authorities.

The rule also requires bloggers with huge followers, to officially register and confirm their identities to a government agency.

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Facebook said that it only complies with government data requests if it is in par with the company policy, international standards of legal process and local laws.

Reuters cited Ampelonsky as saying: "We realise they are registered under U.S. jurisdiction.

"But I think in this case they should demonstrate equal respect to national legislation."

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