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Russian parliament backs bill enabling Moscow to block U.S. social media giants

Christian Fernsby |
Russia could gain powers to restrict access to U.S. social media giants if they discriminate against Russian media and levy big fines on platforms that do not delete banned content, under bills passed by the parliament’s lower house.

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Topics: RUSSIA    U.S.   

The authors of the two bills said infractions by YouTube and Facebook demonstrated the need for the legislation, which is part of a push to increase Russia’s internet “sovereignty” and has fuelled fears of creeping China style controls.

The first bill would allow Russia to restrict or fully block websites following what lawmakers said were complaints from state outlets that their accounts were being treated with prejudice by Twitter, Facebook and Youtube.

The second bill would allow Russia to fine internet providers and sites between 10% and 20% of their previous year’s Russia based turnover for repeatedly failing to remove banned content.

The bill sets a maximum fine of 8 million roubles ($106,130) for the first time sites fail to delete content calling for extremist activity, information about recreational drugs and child sexual abuse.

The bill’s authors said YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram had failed to remove hundreds of URL pages containing prohibited content, as required by Russian law.

The two bills are expected to become law, although they still need to be approved by the upper house and signed by President Vladimir Putin.

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