Social media companies would deny Russian citizens access to information, which is why Moscow considers it necessary to intervene. If a new bill passes, the government could restrict access to social media.
State television channel Russia Today, the state news agency RIA Novosti and state broadcaster Crimea 24 have complained to the government about the tech companies. They say their accounts have been marked as state media or suspended by Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Twitter, for example, took such actions in August.
The Russian government believes that the tech companies “unlawfully” deny Russian citizens access to certain information. The law will soon allow the public prosecutor and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to determine which internet sources restrict access to “socially important information based on nationality, language or in connection with the introduction of sanctions against Russia or its citizens”.
The Russian communications regulator could then partially or completely block these internet resources. The law has yet to be approved by Russia’s parliament, the State Duma. After that, the senate and President Vladimir Putin have to sign it.
In Russia, a battle has been raging for some time about how the internet can be used and by whom. For example, LinkedIn, from Microsoft, has been blocked in the country. That happened after a Russian court ruled that the network website did not adhere to the correct way of storing data about Russian users. All that data must be stored in Russia, the judge ruled.