Russia announces punitive measures against five foreign IT firms for violating online content laws

Russia Announces Punitive Measures Against Five Foreign IT Firms for Violating Online Content Laws

Russia’s state communications regulator said Friday it is taking punitive measures against five foreign IT companies for violating online content laws, which may require search engines to include a disclaimer about the violations. . The regulator, Roskomnadzor, said it was taking measures against ByteDance’s TikTok, Telegram’s messaging service, Zoom Video Communications, chat tools Discord and Pinterest.

In a statement, Roskomnadzor said the measures were in response to the companies’ failure to remove content they flagged as illegal, and would remain in place until they comply.

Neither company immediately responded to written requests for comment.

Roskomnadzor did not specify clearly what measures would be taken. Russia’s leading Yandex search engine already has a disclaimer for some other websites that reads: “Roskomnadzor: website violates Russian law”.

“Roskomnadzor has decided to implement enforcement measures … as Internet users are being informed by search engines about companies’ violations of Russian law,” the regulator said.

Russia has fined many, mostly foreign tech firms, for not removing content it considers illegal. It has also warned sites against violating a law passed in early March that prohibits “defaming” the armed forces, which carries a sentence of up to 15 years.

On Tuesday, Russian courts fined Amazon’s live streaming unit Twitch RUB 2 million (about Rs 26,81,200) and Telegram RUB 11 million (about Rs 1.5 crore) for hosting content that Moscow has accused of hosting events in Ukraine. Contains “fake” information.

Kommersant newspaper reported that the court accused Twitch, a US-based live-streaming service popular among video gamers, of failing to remove a 31-second clip of a girl in the city of Buka. It did not specify the content of the video.

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Russian lawmakers in July approved a bill to introduce harsher penalties for foreign Internet companies, including search engine disclaimers.

© Thomson Reuters 2022


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