Russia: Getting Ready for Noose Snugging

June 23, 2021

Tens of thousands of Russian citizens have taken to the streets in protest and the government is cracking down. On social media platforms, that is. Seattle PI reports, “Russia Fines Facebook, Telegram Over Banned Content.” The succinct write-up specifies that Facebook was just fined 17 million rubles (about $236,000) and messaging app Telegram 10 million rubles ($139,000) by a Moscow court. Though it was unclear what specific content prompted these latest fines, this seems to be a trend. We learn:

“It was the second time both companies have been fined in recent weeks. On May 25, Facebook was ordered to pay 26 million rubles ($362,000) for not taking down content deemed unlawful by the Russian authorities. A month ago, Telegram was also ordered to pay 5 million rubles ($69,000) for not taking down calls to protest. Earlier this year, Russia’s state communications watchdog Roskomnadzor started slowing down Twitter and threatened it with a ban, also over its alleged failure to take down unlawful content. Officials maintained the platform failed to remove content encouraging suicide among children and containing information about drugs and child pornography. The crackdown unfolded after Russian authorities criticized social media platforms that have been used to bring tens of thousands of people into the streets across Russia this year to demand the release of jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, President Vladimir Putin’s most well-known critic. The wave of demonstrations has been a major challenge to the Kremlin. Officials alleged that social media platforms failed to remove calls for children to join the protests.”

Yes, Putin would have us believe it is all about the children. He has expressed to the police his concern for young ones who are tempted into “illegal and unsanctioned street actions” by dastardly grown-ups on social media. His concern is touching.

Beyond Search thinks Mr. Putin’s actions are about control. An article in Russian named “Sovereign DNS Is Already Here and You Haven’t Noticed” provides information that suggests Mr. Putin’s telecommunications authority has put the machinery in place to control Internet access within Russia.

Fines may be a precursor to more overt action against US companies and content the Russian authorities deem in appropriate.

Cynthia Murrell, June 23, 2021


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