Putin Accuses Western Social Media Of Ignoring Russian Law
President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday accused Western social media platforms of ignoring Russian authorities’ requests to delete illegal content, but stressed the country had no plans to block their work.
The Russian government has in recent months been clamping down on sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube for hosting content supporting jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.
“No, we are not planning to block anybody. We are planning to work with them,” Putin said during his annual televised phone-in.
“But there is a problem that they send us packing when they do not follow our requests and our laws,” Putin added.
“If they work in our country, earn good money, they need to obey our laws.”
Kremlin critics accuse the Russian government of using the pretext of protecting minors and fighting extremism to tighten control over the Russian segment of the web and develop a so-called “sovereign internet”.
During protests in support of Navalny in January, authorities accused platforms including YouTube and Twitter of interfering in Russia’s domestic affairs by not deleting posts calling for minors to join the rallies.
Russia’s media watchdog Roskomnadzor in March said it was slowing down Twitter’s services over its non-compliance with requests to remove content related to child pornography, drug use and calls for minors to commit suicide.
The media regulator also threatened to ban Twitter completely if the prohibited content was not removed.
The watchdog has repeatedly fined Google for failing to remove content and last year fined Twitter and Facebook for refusing to store the personal data of Russian citizens on local servers.
On Wednesday, Roskomnadzor said in a statement that it was drawing up an administrative protocol against Google for failing to provide proof that the data of Russian users has been moved to Russian servers.
The maximum penalty is a fine of six million rubles ($82,000).
Russia has blocked a number of websites that have refused to cooperate with the authorities, such as the Dailymotion video platform and professional social network LinkedIn.