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YouTube, Facebook, Twitter Facing Russian Censorship

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The Russian regulatory agency, called the Federal Service for Supervision in Telecommunications, Information Technology and Mass Communications, known by its acronym Roskomnadzor is a mouthful in either English or Russian. Lately, the group has been flexing its muscles in the last week following last November’s enactment of the Child Protection Law.

YouTube, Facebook, Twitter Facing Russian Censorship

The law allows the Roskomnadzor to censor materials deemed illegal or harmful to children. Of the aforementioned companies above only YouTube (Google) has challenged the decision of the council. The “Ros” (just easier to type) asked YouTube to remove a video that they deemed harmful. While YouTube complied with the order they also filed a law suit claiming that the video was meant solely for entertainment purposes. The video in questioned showed viewers how to make a fake wound with make-up materials and a razor blade.

While many in Russia fear any sort of censorship given its past and the potential for a law such as this one to open the door to further censorship, Russian officials and lawmakers believe that this is a focused way to focus on their primary concerns: child abuse, drug use, and suicide. The video in question was deemed to be glamorizing suicide.

My question immediately becomes? Have you read your literature? Is there anything that promotes suicide more than Russian literature? Yes, there is. It’s called Russian literature combined with copious amount of vodka and/or a Russian Winter. This Child Protection Law is a criticism of all things Russian.

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) recently agreed to remove content based on Russian requests after facing an impending nationwide ban. The request focused on a group called “Club Suicid.” after looking into the group Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) said in a statement, “We reviewed the content and it was removed because it violated our terms of use,” believing it was not covered by the umbrella of “controversial humor written into those same terms of use.

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) has a history of blocking content based on a country’s legislation.

“Notable examples of where most services, including ours, will I.P.-restrict access for certain counties are in Germany” and in France, where it blocks content related to Holocaust denial, and in Turkey, where content defaming the country’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, is blocked, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) said in its statement.

Twitter happily removed five posts the “Ros” deemed objectionable in their promotion of drug use and suicide.

Blogger and journalist Anton Nosik in a manner nothing short of contradictory called the law, “absurd, harmful and absolutely unnecessary.” At the same time, Mr. Nosik said, “The track record of the authorities shows they are not going to enforce it strictly.”


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