Russia Threatens To Fine Social Media Giants For Not Deleting Protest-related Posts

Russia said that social media giants including TikTok, Facebook, Twitter and even YouTube “will be fined” for failing to delete the posts regarding protests.

Russia on January 27 said that social media giants including TikTok, Facebook, Twitter and even YouTube “will be fined” for failing to delete the posts that motivated the youngsters to participate in the opposition protests. In a statement, Russia media’s watchdog, Roskomnadzor said that the fines could be as much as 4 million rubles or $53,000 after nationwide rallies were held demanding the immediate release of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s staunch critic and opposition leader Alexei Navalny. On Saturday, tens of thousands of people defied heavy law enforcement presence as they organised demonstrations in freezing temperatures.

“Social networks Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, VKontakte, Odnoklassniki, as well as YouTube video hosting will be fined for failure to comply with the requirements to suppress the spread of appeals to minors to participate in unauthorized rallies on January 23,” said Russia media watchdog.

Watchdog says 170 illegal appeals ‘not removed’

Roskomnadzor also said that the Prosecutor General’s Office and itself had requested the social media platforms to remove “in a timely manner a total of 170 illegal appeals”, but they failed to comply with it. Posts promoting what is reportedly termed as the ‘biggest’ opposition rallies flooded the social media and were watched hundreds of millions of times on TikTok. It was the flurry of videos on social media sites that prompted the Russia media watchdog to demand the applications to take down any information that encouraged “minors to act illegally”. 

“We remind the administrations of social networks that in the event of a repeated offence, the amount of the fine can be increased to one-tenth of the total amount of the annual proceeds. We ask the management of Internet platforms to refrain from disseminating calls for participation in unauthorized public events,” said Russia media watchdog.

The protests were organised in a range of cities across Russia when the temperatures were as low as minus-50 C, highlighting the influence Kremlin’s most prominent foe has built in the nation. Navalny’s wife Yulia was also detained in Moscow. Navalny was arrested on January 17 on returning to Moscow from Germany, where he had spent nearly five months recovering from nerve-agent poisoning that he has blamed on the Kremlin but Russian authorities deny.  – Aanchal Nigam

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