🪆 Russia goes after the biggest social networks in an anti-free speech campaign
And you thought the debate over free speech on the internet was contentious in America…
It all started with protests: In January, Russians used social networks like Twitter and Facebook, as well as Google, to help organize actions against the Kremlin. Russia has since been making steady demands for those internet companies to remove content it deems problematic. A failure to comply may result in Russia’s internet regulator (named Roskomnadzor!) slowing the companies’ services.
The companies have agreed to some demands and passed on others: Twitter, for instance, has removed thousands of pieces of content at Russia’s request. But Twitter and Facebook have so far declined to store data on Russian users as the authorities want.
Authoritarian leaders are cracking down all over
Indian police visited Twitter’s New Delhi offices earlier this week. Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko banned live streams of unauthorized protests.
Until recently, the internet had been relatively free of control in Russia. But the Kremlin’s new controls are expected to increase, into something like the Great Firewall of China, and potentially spread elsewhere around the world.