×
Enjoying ad-free content?
Since July 1, 2024, we have disabled all ads to improve your reading experience.
This commitment costs us $10,000 a month. Your support can help us fill the gap.
Support us
Our journalism is banned in Russia. We need your help to keep providing you with the truth.

Russian Watchdog Threatens Google, Facebook Over 'Extremist' Content

A 3D plastic representation of the Facebook logo is seen in this illustration in Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, May 13, 2015.

The head of Russia's media watchdog has threatened Google, Facebook and Twitter with fines and bans unless the companies comply with Moscow's demands to block content it deems extremist and to share information about online traffic on individual pages, a news report said.

In letters to senior executives of the three social networks, head of the Roskomnadzor watchdog, Alexander Zharov, accused the companies of committing "lawless actions" by ignoring Russia's demands, and threatened sanctions, pro-government daily Izvestia reported Tuesday.

Roskomnadzor spokesman Vadim Ampelonsky confirmed that the letters had been sent out, the report said.

"Letters of this kind have become standard practice in our communication with foreign Internet companies," Ampelonsky was quoted as saying. "Usually the dispatch of such letters brings about certain progress in communication."

"We hope that in this case the companies will respond and fulfill the demands that have repeatedly been presented to them," he said, Izvestia reported.

A previous batch of letters was sent out by Zharov's deputy, Maxim Ksendzov, earlier this month, Izvestia reported.

In those messages, Ksendzov demanded that Twitter, Facebook and Google delete content that "contains calls for mass unrest [or] carrying out extremist activities" or calls for attending unauthorized rallies, the report said.

He also demanded that the companies provide information about the numbers of visitors to specific pages, Izvestia reported. This demand was prompted by a law enacted last summer that requires bloggers whose accounts receive more than 3,000 visitors per day to register as mass media.

Moscow has sought to control expressions of political dissent in the country, particularly after opposition protests brought down a Kremlin-backed administration in neighboring Ukraine slightly over a year ago.

Because most Russian mass media is state controlled, opposition leaders have often turned to social media to voice their opinions and organize rallies and protests.

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

Once
Monthly
Annual
Continue
paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more