The Russian communication watchdog has opened civil proceedings against the two big social media giants – Facebook and Twitter – claiming that they failed to comply with local data laws.
Roskomnadzor, the regulator, said that Facebook and Twitter did not explain how and when they would comply with legislation requiring them to store Russian users’ personal data on servers in Russia.
‘The companies managing the social networks of Facebook and Twitter provided formal answers to our demands to confirm the localisation of personal data of Russian users in Russia,’ CNBC quoted Roskomnadzor.
‘They do not contain specifics about the actual implementation of the legislation at the current moment, nor do they contain anything about the timing of the implementation of these standards in the future. In this regard, today Roskomnadzor begins administrative proceedings against both companies,’ the regulator added.
While a Facebook spokesperson said that the company is in touch with relevant Russian governmental bodies regarding its activities in Russia. Twitter, on the other hand, declined to comment.
Over the past few years, Russia has tightened its grip on internet laws by asking search engines to censor results, messaging apps to share their encryption keys and social media firms to store data on Russians on local servers.
Based on the new rules, the Russian government now has the power to block websites that illegally access Russian citizens’ personal data. The communication regulator can also issue small fines to firms that breach its data laws.
The investigation could technically prompt Russia to block access to the two social media giants in the country.