Russia has forced internet giants including Google and Facebook to open a branch in the country. President Vladimir Putin signed a law to that effect on Thursday. Every IT company that reaches at least half a million Russians a day and targets a Russian audience should be able to prove that it has an office in Russia since the beginning of next year.
In this way, Moscow wants to be able to hold the branches responsible for violations of the legislation and also force cooperation with the Russian authorities. According to the legal text, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram are also in the crossfire in this way. Violations can result in fines or even a complete ban of the affected service in Russia.
Opponents criticized the law. The Russian director of Wikipedia has expressed concerns that his company could now theoretically be classified as a “foreign agent”. By law, media and organizations in Russia must register as foreign agents if they are funded with funds from abroad.
In recent months, Russia has repeatedly fined Twitter, among others, for failing to consistently delete protest calls. Additionally, Twitter speed was temporarily limited as a punitive measure.
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