Russia prepares to block Facebook and Instagram

Russia’s Public Prosecution Service has begun scouring social networks in search of materials that violate the law “On insulting state symbols and organs of state power” which was initiated by senator Andrey Klishas in December last year and came into force on 29 March.

Images offensive to the Russian government have been found on Facebook and Instagram, Interfax reports, citing Russia’s federal censorship agency, Roskomnadzor (RKN).

Facebook has already been added to the register of distributors of prohibited information on account of imagery which RKN claims “contains an uncensored interpretation of our country’s name and the picture of a swastika against the background of Russia’s coat of arms”.

On 15 July, the prosecution service asked RKN to restrict access to the image.

A day later, similar demands were made of Instagram, where images were found of “improper behavior towards the Russian flag”. “Instagram must delete the image,” RKN’s press service told the TASS news agency.

The new law stipulates that online resources have 24 hours to comply with such demands, or they will be blocked.

In April, RKN blocked the Yaroslavl-based news agency “Yarkub”, which refused to delete an article on an inscription insulting President Vladimir Putin.

The site was found to contain information which may not be distributed in Russia – an article about a teenager’s attempted suicide that described the manner of suicide. RKN blacklisted only the specific article, not the entire site.

Yarkub used a protocol with additional HTTPS encryption, which means that service providers can only block the entire site, and not individual pages.

  Russia, Roskomnadzor, Facebook, Instagram