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Russia Threatens Facebook, Twitter With $100K Fines

Facebook and Twitter had been ordered to relocate all their servers storing Russians' data into Russia by Jan. 31. Jenny Kane / AP / TASS

Russia’s communications watchdog said Friday it has launched fresh proceedings against Facebook and Twitter over their failure to comply with local data laws.

The social media giants “have not provided information on the localization of Russian users’ database inside Russian servers on time,” the watchdog, Roskomnadzor, said. Roskomnadzor had issued a Jan. 31 deadline for Facebook and Twitter to report their compliance with a law that requires all servers that store Russians’ data to be relocated into Russia. 

The social media giants could be forced to pay a fine ranging from 1 million rubles (approximately $16,000) and 6 million rubles ($94,000), it said.

Roskomnadzor said Friday it will file its complaint in Russian court in three days.

Under a new law imposing stiffer fines that President Vladimir Putin signed last month, fines for repeat offenses go up to 18 million rubles (almost $290,000).

Russia’s Communications Ministry has backed fines as more effective measures for enforcement than bans.

“You can bypass bans, but if the company works [in Russia], it’ll have to pay,” Deputy Communications Minister Alexei Volin told the state-run TASS news agency Thursday.

Russia blocked the professional networking website LinkedIn in 2016 under the data-localization legislation.

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