Russian authorities on Thursday ordered Fb and the messaging app Telegram to pay steep fines for failing to take away banned content material, a transfer that could possibly be a part of rising authorities efforts to tighten management over social media platforms amid political dissent.
A Moscow court docket fined Fb a complete of RUB 17 million (roughly Rs. 1.7 crores) and Telegram RUB 10 million (roughly Rs. 1 crore). It wasn’t instantly clear what kind of content material the platforms did not take down.
It was the second time each firms have been fined in current weeks. On Might 25, Fb was ordered to pay RUB 26 million (roughly Rs. 2.6 crores) for not taking down content material deemed illegal by the Russian authorities. A month in the past, Telegram was additionally ordered to pay RUB 5 million (roughly Rs. 50 lakhs) for not taking down calls to protest.
Earlier this yr, Russia’s state communications watchdog Roskomnadzor began slowing down Twitter and threatened it with a ban, additionally over its alleged failure to take down illegal content material. Officers maintained the platform did not take away content material encouraging suicide amongst kids and containing details about medication and little one pornography.
The crackdown unfolded after Russian authorities criticised social media platforms which were used to deliver tens of 1000’s of individuals into the streets throughout Russia this yr to demand the discharge of jailed Russian opposition chief Alexei Navalny, President Vladimir Putin’s most well-known critic. The wave of demonstrations has been a serious problem to the Kremlin.
Officers alleged that social media platforms did not take away calls for youngsters to hitch the protests. Putin has urged police to behave extra to watch social media platforms and to trace down those that draw kids into “unlawful and unsanctioned avenue actions.”
The Russian authorities’s efforts to tighten management of the Web and social media date again to 2012, when a regulation permitting authorities to blacklist and block sure on-line content material was adopted. Since then, a rising variety of restrictions focusing on messaging apps, web sites and social media platforms have been launched in Russia.
The federal government has repeatedly aired threats to dam Fb and Twitter, however stopped in need of outright bans — most likely fearing the transfer would elicit an excessive amount of public outrage. Solely the social community LinkedIn, which wasn’t highly regarded in Russia, has been banned by authorities for its failure to retailer person knowledge in Russia.
In 2018, Roskomnadzor moved to dam Telegram over its refusal at hand over encryption keys used to scramble messages, however failed to totally prohibit entry to the app, disrupting a whole bunch of internet sites in Russia as an alternative. Final yr, the watchdog formally withdrew the calls for to limit the app, which continued to be broadly used regardless of the ban, together with by authorities establishments.