Russia has threatened to ban Facebook if the social media giant fails to comply with a law passed in 2015 which forces companies to store Russian users’ personal data on local servers. According to the law, any local or foreign company that provide services to Russian citizens and stores their personal data should store the data on Russia-based servers.
Alexander Zharov, Head of Russian media watchdog Roskomnadzor (Russian federal executive body responsible for media and telecommunications) told Interfax– “we will either ensure that the law is implemented, or the company ceases to work in the Russian Federation, as, unfortunately, happened with LinkedIn. There are no exceptions.”
There is no exact date but Zharov did mention 2018 as the deadline to solve the issue or otherwise Facebook will be banned just like LinkedIn. The social platform for professionals, LinkedIn was banned in Russia last year after failing to comply with the same law. On the other hand, Twitter has agreed to transfer its Russian users’ database to Russian servers.
The announcement came after Facebook revealed that Russia-based fake accounts paid for ads that may have influenced last year’s U.S. elections and also announced that it will share such 3,000 ads with the US authorities. Facebook also said that it had shut down hundreds of such accounts that bought these ads for $100,000.
As of last year, Facebook has 14.4 million users in Russia and 6 million of them use the social networking service daily. Zharov mentioned that he is aware of Facebook’s popularity in Russia. “On the other hand, we understand that this is not a unique service. There are other social networks,” watchdog head further stated.
Russian President Vladimir Putin uses Facebook to interact with the Citizens and make political statements. Even the opposition leader Alexei Navalny uses Facebook to interact with his supporters.
Banning Facebook is definitely going to affect the lives of people and even the high-profile Russian citizens as the social media platform is the largest among others and a great way to stay connected with friends and family. Not just the people, it will also impact both small and big businesses using the platform to promote their business and communicate with customers.