Russia threatens to block Twitter and Facebook across the country. The social networking sites are obliged to store data about Russian users on servers in Russia, but currently do not. That reports Interfax press agency.

According to the Russian telecom watchdog Roskomnadzor, technology companies have not explained well enough when and how they want to store user data on servers in Russia. Alexander Zharov, the head of Roskomnadzor, reported that both companies now have a month to provide information or that action is taken against them.

“We asked the companies behind the social media Twitter and Facebook where the data is stored in Russia, and they have formally responded. This answer does not show that they will respect the law now or in the future,” Zharov reports to Russian news agencies.

Fines

Due to the threat of administrative measures, Roskomnadzor hopes to oblige Facebook and Twitter to arrange. “We hope to subject them to administrative responsibility, and we impose a fine,” adds spokesman Vadim Ampelonski in an interview with the Russian television channel Rossiya 24. Technology companies that do not comply with the strict Internet legislation in Russia are not only threatened with being blocked, but can indeed also get fines of a few thousand dollars, according to news agency Reuters.

Several sources told Reuters that the authorities in Moscow are planning to impose stricter fines on companies that violate the rules.

LinkedIn still forbidden

It is not the first time that the Russian authorities block a social networking site. In 2016, the Russian government blocked the professional network LinkedIn because, like Facebook and Twitter now, it did not want to store user data on Russian territory. Today, LinkedIn is still forbidden in the Russian territory. After an unsuccessful attempt to ban the secret messaging app Telegram in April 2018, Roskomnadzor reported that Facebook would become a next target.

A few weeks ago, Roskomnadzor himself was discredited when it accused the British broadcaster BBC of spreading the jihadi ideology of Islamic State (IS), and was going to investigate the BBC programs ‘permanently’.

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