Twitter, Facebook warned not to violate Russia’s internet laws

Moscow has introduced a new set of internet and media laws critics have decried as censorship.

Three American internet firms could be blocked if they don’t hand over names of relevant bloggers to the authorities.


The three firms are Facebook, Twitter and Google. In a letter sent last week, Russia’s media watchdog, Roskomnadzor, also asks the internet companies to take down websites considered provocative, like containing calls for “unsanctioned protests and unrest,” Reuters reports.

According to Russian law, all bloggers with more than 3,000 readers per day must register as mass media. Registered means following the law on mass media, now banning material recognized as extremist information by Russia’s Attorney General.

Both Twitter and Facebook are popular in Russia. As media clampdown continues, more and more of information critical to authorities moves from traditional news portals to social media platforms and blog sites.

Roskomnadzor argues that because encryption technology used by Twitter and Facebook does not allow them to block specific sites, they will have no other choice than to block the entire sites if the violate the law.

Last year, BarentsObserver reported that deputy head of the Roskomnadzor said social media networks like Twitter and Facebook can be closed down in the country ”in few minutes” if the authorities decide that ”the consequences of a ban of social media will be less than the harm inflicted by it on Russian society”.

”We don’t see any risks connected with this [ban]”, Maksim Ksenzov said in an interview posted on the website of Roskomnadzor.