Russia wants to ban social media sites

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The Russian government is working on a new law that allows foreign social media sites inside Russian territory to be banned as discriminating against Russian media operating abroad.

Sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube were specifically mentioned in the explanatory notes accompanying the new bill, which was submitted last week for discussion in the Russian State Duma.

Russian lawmakers said: Since April 2020, state authorities have received complaints from the editors of Russian news sites whose social media accounts have been censored.

They added: “Media outlets such as Russia Today, RIA Novosti and Crimea 24 have been censored, and some 20 acts of discrimination have been recorded.

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The discrimination referred to in the bill’s memos refers to the rules introduced by Twitter and Facebook this year, while YouTube introduced them in 2018.

The three sites displayed special labels via the profiles of state news agencies and reduced their visibility through their sites by removing their content from the recommendation algorithms.

Russian lawmakers have described these rules as unreasonable restrictions that discriminate against material from the Russian media, describing them as violations of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of Russian citizens.

The new bill plans to give the Russian Attorney General’s Office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs the power to ban social media platforms that impose such restrictions on Russian news sites.

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After the decision is taken, the Russian telecommunications watchdog, Roskomnadzor, is called upon to impose the ban through its national blacklist system, which has banned Microsoft-owned LinkedIn since 2016.

The Law Office of the State Duma did not find any problems with the text of the law and gave the green light for further discussion and ratification.

In order for the bill to enter into force, it first needs the approval of state duma legislators, before it is approved in the Upper House of Parliament and signed by President Vladimir Putin.

The Russian government, through Roskomnadzor, announced the start of new measures against Google for failing to block up to 30 percent of the dangerous content in search results offered to Russian citizens.

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Russia has long sought to increase control over Internet use within its territory, and the FSB has ordered some of the country’s major Internet companies to give them continued access to their systems.

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