Russia imposes social media law

New legislation has come into effect in Russia that imposes restrictions on the use of social media platforms in the former Communist country.

The new law states that any social account with over 3,000 readers on a daily basis must be registered with the Russian mass media regulator.

Anyone registered with Roskomnadzor, the regulator, needs to then act according to existing media regulations. It also means that bloggers, who enjoy great popularity in Russia, can no longer remain anonymous.

The law also decrees that web firms will need to allow access to user accounts for Russian authorities and keep user data for analysis. The six months of information has to be held on servers located in the nation or on its territory, in order that governmental access is not hindered.

Critics have seen the move as further action by Russia to restrict Internet freedom, with human rights activist Hugh Williamson saying that it was:

“…another milestone in Russia’s relentless crackdown on free expression.”

The Internet has become a popular arena for opponents of Russia’s regime and in particular Vladimir Putin. Some of his opponents that make use of the web can access millions of readers’ news feeds.

The new legislation will see these bloggers and commentators face the same restrictions that broadcast and printed media agencies are governed by.

Many bloggers are expected to start using proxy servers to host their blogs in order to prevent from being closed down. However, many feel that the law is practically unenforceable already, with the servers for the most popular social platforms located outside of Russia.

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