Russian authorities on Thursday ordered Facebook and the messaging app Telegram to pay steep fines for failing to take away banned content material, a transfer that may very well be a part of rising authorities efforts to tighten management over social media platforms amid political dissent.
A Moscow court docket fined Facebook a complete of 17 million rubles (roughly USD 236,000) and Telegram 10 million rubles (USD 139,000). It wasn’t instantly clear what sort of content material the platforms didn’t take down.
It was the second time each corporations have been fined in current weeks. On May 25, Facebook was ordered to pay 26 million rubles (USD 362,000) for not taking down content material deemed illegal by the Russian authorities. A month in the past, Telegram was additionally ordered to pay 5 million rubles (USD 69,000) 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. Officials maintained the platform didn’t take away content material encouraging suicide amongst youngsters and containing details about medication and baby pornography.
The crackdown unfolded after Russian authorities criticized social media platforms which have been used to carry tens of hundreds 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 significant problem to the Kremlin.
Officials alleged that social media platforms didn’t take away calls for kids to affix the protests. Putin has urged police to behave extra to observe social media platforms and to trace down those that draw youngsters into ‘illegal and unsanctioned street actions.’
The Russian authorities’s efforts to tighten management of the web and social media date again to 2012, when a legislation permitting authorities to blacklist and block sure on-line content material was adopted. Since then, a rising variety of restrictions concentrating on messaging apps, web sites and social media platforms have been launched in Russia.
The authorities has repeatedly aired threats to dam Facebook and Twitter, however stopped in need of outright bans, in all probability fearing the transfer would elicit an excessive amount of public outrage. Only the social community LinkedIn, which wasn’t very fashionable in Russia, has been banned by authorities for its failure to retailer consumer information in Russia.