Russian Official Threatens To Block Twitter And Facebook In Russia
from the no-big-risk dept
He complains about how Twitter and Facebook don't have offices in Russia, and thus communication with those two companies has been less productive (and also about how they're making money in Russia but not paying Russian taxes). Ksenzov highlights that Twitter "categorically refuses" to remove content that the Russian government finds illegal. He complains that it has allowed "extremist" content to live on and that "calling for the overthrow of existing political regimes" is terrible speech that "cannot be explained in terms of free speech." Except, of course, many believers in free speech would argue otherwise.
Either way, he makes it clear that because Twitter "consistently refuses" to block content when the Russian government complains, it becomes "almost inevitable" that Russia will have to block all access to the site. He further notes that because Twitter and Facebook use HTTPS encryption, Russia may just block the entire sites, rather than trying to target certain content. He highlights how many other countries have chosen to block access to sites like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Google. When he's questioned about taking restrictive measures on websites, he claims that they're not restrictive measures so much as enforcing the law and protecting Russians.
While he notes that he'd prefer that Russian services are better developed so that people don't feel the need to use American services, he says that Twitter and Facebook can be blocked "within minutes" and he doesn't see it as being a big risk to block those sites. He says that the Russian government will continue to evaluate the "threat," and if they perceive the risk to the Russian people to be more significant than the harm from shutting down those services, they won't hesitate to block all access to Twitter and Facebook.
And... just as I was finishing up this post, I see that Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has (of all things) tweeted a response to this, saying "certain officials should think before announcing blocking of social networks in an interview." Subtle. Not surprisingly Ksenzov appears to have backed off his original claims slightly, but it still wouldn't surprise me to see Russia start cracking down on foreign social networks given recent events.