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Putin signs law forcing foreign social media giants to open Russian offices

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Russian President Vladimir Putin attends an annual nationwide telephone broadcast on television on June 30, 2021 in Moscow, Russia. Sputnik / Alexei Nikolskyi / Kremlin via REUTERS

MOSCOW, July 1 (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin has signed a law obliging foreign social media giants to open offices in Russia.

The Russian authorities are keen to strengthen their control over the Internet and reduce their dependence on foreign companies and countries.

In the past, you have particularly objected to political opponents of the Kremlin using foreign social media platforms to organize allegedly illegal protests and to make politically colored investigations into alleged corruption public.

Moscow fined companies for allegedly failing to delete illegal content and slowing the speed of Twitter as a punishment, and on Wednesday launched a new lawsuit against Alphabet (DemokratieL.O) subsidiary Google for violating the law on protection personal data initiated. Continue reading

“A foreign company that conducts online activities in Russia is required to establish a branch, an office or a Russian legal entity,” says the new law.

Alexander Khinshtein, head of the State Duma’s information policy and IT committee, the Russian lower house, said the law applies to internet giants with a daily audience in Russia of at least 500,000 people.

Firms must register a personal account on the website of Roskomnadzor, the state regulator for Russia, he wrote on his Telegram channel.

Companies that break the law can face sanctions such as advertising bans.

Russia has tracked social media companies who are not deleting content that Moscow believes is illegal fast enough. Facebook (FB.O), Google, Telegram and Twitter all have court hearings scheduled for later this month with new charges. Continue reading

The new law potentially affects 20 companies, including retailers and e-commerce companies, RIA reported.

Reporting by Anton Kolodyazhnyy and Alexander Marrow; Editing by Andrew Osborn

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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