Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook have been on a roll the last year or so, and now apparently they’re ready to take on Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin. According to a Russian media report, Facebook is heading for a showdown with the Russian government regarding new laws regarding the storage of personal data in Russia.
As of September 1st, there will be a new law in Russia requiring all social media and Internet firms to store the personal data of Russian users within the physical boundaries of the country.
Details on Facebook’s potential showdown with Russia
Russian media Vedomosti published an article on Tuesday, August 25th claiming that Facebook does not plan to move its data to Russia. Vedomosto claims to have spoken to sources who say that Facebook director of public policy for the Nordics, Central, and Eastern Europe Thomas Myrup Kristensen told the Russian telecom watchdog Roskomnadzor the company “does not consider it necessary to place the data of Russian users on Russian servers.” The reason given was that the data it collects is not actually “personal data.” The article claimed the social media giant also noted “economic inexpediency” as another reason it was not moving data to Russia.
That said, there seems to be some damage control going on, as a Roskomnadzor spokesperson who spoke to Vedomosti denied that “Kristensen said Facebook refuses to install servers in Russia,” according to Politico Morning Tech.
Business Insider spoke to a Facebook spokesperson who said that “we regularly meet with government officials and have nothing more to share at this time.”
Exactly what Russia will do if Facebook does not move servers to Russia is not certain. That said, the Russian government has not been very tolerant of Internet or tech firms that it believes are in violation of its laws. Just a couple of weeks ago, Roskomnadzor banned of popular user-content website Reddit for a two-year-old post that gave directions on how to grow hallucinogenic mushrooms (in Russian). Shortly thereafter, Reddit began a local censorship program to stop Russian users from reading the post.
Over the last few years, Russian authorities have banned a number of Wikipedia pages (including earlier this week) and have also taken down numerous websites relating to drug use, controversial current events or the political opposition.
Analysts point out that some tech companies have decided to cooperate with the new Russian law. Samsung and eBay, for example, have apparently agreed to the move servers to Russia for the storage of personal data on Russian citizens.
Facebook reportedly working on streaming music service
As reported by ValueWalk last month, Facebook is planing to launch its own music streaming service to compete with Spotify and Apple Music. According to Music Ally, the social network might be planning to partner with third-parties to monetize music videos.
The Music Ally report claims that the social media firm will launch music videos on its platform by the end of the year, but no details are available as the service is currently still being developed. The report also suggested that Facebook was in talks with major music labels regarding licensing of the music videos.