Russia to scrutinise FB now
Moscow: In what appears to be a fallout of the US probe into Russia's alleged meddling into the 2016 US presidential election via Facebook, the country's communications regulator has now announced it will scrutinise whether the social media giant was complying with Russian laws.
According to a report in The Moscow Times on Thursday, state media watchdog Roskomnadzor wants to check if the personal information of its citizens on Facebook was safe. In September, Roskomnadzor had said it would block Facebook if it fails to abide by Russian laws.
"In the near future, Roskomnadzor will plan a string of supervisory activities aimed at analysing the activities of the administration of Facebook in terms of the processing of Russian users' personal information, the terms of services for users, and the content of existing legislation," the Interfax news agency reported citing a Roskomnadzor statement.
Roskomnadzor had blocked Microsoft-owned LinkedIn last year in accordance with a court ruling that the professional networking platform was violating Russia's laws. In 2015, Russia passed a law that requires Internet firms to store user data in Russia.
"In April, Twitter agreed to transfer its Russian users' data to Russian servers by mid-2018," the report added. According to Newsweek, the law, signed by President Vladimir Putin, is designed to protect the personal information of its citizens.
The law states that website operators should "ensure recording, systematisation, accumulation, storage, processing (updating, modification) removal of personal data of Russian citizens by using databases located on the territory of the Russian Federation."
About 14 per cent people -- 22.6 million of Russia's 144.3 million population -- were on Facebook in 2016, according to Statista, an online market research portal. On November 1, Facebook, along with Twitter and Google, defended themselves to US lawmakers probing whether Russia used social media to influence the 2016 presidential election.
Facebook had confessed that as many as 126 million US users may have seen Russia-backed content over the last two years. Twitter also said it had identified more than 36,000 Russian bots that generated 1.4 million automated, election-related Tweets, which may have been viewed as many as 288 million times. Google also revealed that Russian trolls had uploaded more than 1,000 political videos on YouTube on 18 different channels.