A warning has been issued to Facebook by Russia’s internet watchdog, that it would be banned in Russia by 2018 except it complies with a law on storing local users’ data.
The head of Roskomnadzor telecoms watchdog, Alexander Zharov as quoted by Interfax news agency told journalists in Moscow, “The law is compulsory for all”.
In 2014, a controversial law that requires foreign messaging services, search engines and social networking sites to store the personal data of Russian users inside Russia was passed.
Although this law was squarely opposed by the telecommunications industry, it appears to be a move to compel sites such as Facebook and Twitter into handing over user information to Russian government authority.
Zharov continued “We will work on getting Facebook to observe the law, and this will all happen in 2018 definitely.”
Foreseeing that they social media giant might refuse subjection to this controversial law, Zharov continued “In any case we will either get the law carried out or the company will stop working in Russia, as unfortunately happened to LinkedIn.”
These comments from Zharov came up after Facebook revealed that Russia-linked fake accounts paid for ads may have influenced last year’s US election so the threat of a ban coming from Russia is slightly seen as “precautionary” as Russia is gearing up for presidential elections in March next year.
In a situation that this ban pulls through, opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who intends to stand against Putin will almost certainly be barred seeing that he uses Facebook to communicate with supporters
Zharov concludes, “We understand very well that Facebook has a significant number of users in Russia, but on the other hand, we understand that it’s not a unique service, there are other social media sites”.