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Russia ups the ante against US social media giants after global outage

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Roskomnadzor, Russia's Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology, and Mass Media, will use "a turnover-based fine against Facebook" for the first time due to the company’s refusal to delete banned content.

Russian news agency Tass, quoting the watchdog's press service, reported on Tuesday that Roskomnadzor, in the presence of a representative of Facebook Inc, drew up an administrative protocol for a repeated violation of the procedure for restricting access to files containing banned information in Facebook and Instagram social networks.

"The watchdog will submit the protocol to the court, which will determine the date of the hearing. For such an offence committed repeatedly, the American IT giant faces a fine in the amount of one-twentieth to one-tenth of its annual revenue. The exact amount of the fine will also be determined by the court," the press service added.

The regulator noted that since 2019 it had sent more than 110 notifications to the IT giant, including  60 notifications regarding four pieces of content on Facebook and 53 notifications regarding five publications on Instagram.

Tass said that after the company was summoned to the department to draw up a protocol providing for the imposition of a turnover-based fine, the moderators of Facebook and Instagram deleted the nine publications indicated in the protocol.

"However, according to Russian law, the company is obliged to do this within 24 hours after receiving a notification from Roskomnadzor. Repeated violation of the access restriction procedure can be met with turnover-based fines," the regulator’s press service said.

Meanwhile, the agency also reported Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova as saying that the massive worldwide disruption of US social media and messaging apps, including Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, on Monday should encourage Russia to build its own segment of information technology.

"… We are obligated to develop our domestic segment of information technology. We should realise that this type of lockdown may happen in the blink of an eye, given the developments accelerating in the US," the diplomat was quoted as saying by the Russian news agency.

"It's not us who turn ourselves off, but rather their technologies are plummeting to such a level that three and a half billion people ended up disconnected," she said.

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