Russia has warned Facebook that it may block the popular social media application in 2018 if it does not comply with Russian law stating that data storage must be on Russian soil. Twitter has already agreed to move its servers to Russia. LinkedIn was blocked recently for not doing as required by Russian law.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said today, “There is the law that [Facebook] needs to observe…It would be incorrect to give any assessments on the work of this big, but one particular company,” reported Russian state news agency TASS.
The head of Russia’s telecom and IT watchdog Roskomnadzor Alexander Zharov said, “Law is mandatory for everyone and that’s why there is no doubt that in any case we will either ensure that the law is implemented or the company will stop operations in Russia, what was unfortunately the case with LinkedIn. There are no exceptions here…By the end of 2017 we are not planning any checks on Facebook, but we will think about this in 2018. We understand that this is not a unique service and there are other social networks.”
“That’s why we will seek to ensure that Facebook observes the 242nd law.”
There is also another motivation behind the effort to ban foreign social media and technology in Russia. Russia sees hi-tech as a way to diversify the economy away from hydrocarbons and is also worried about cyber attacks and surveillance with foreign software.