Tags: russia | putin | tighter | control

Facebook Page for Russia Rally Blocked as Putin Tightens Control

Tuesday, 23 Dec 2014 06:46 AM

 The blocking of a Facebook Inc. page promoting a Russian opposition rally highlights the challenges the social network faces in the country as President Vladimir Putin seeks more control over the Web.

Facebook agreed to block the page at the request of Russian communications regulator Roskomnadzor, Vadim Ampelonskiy, a spokesman for the agency, said today. The watchdog asks social media to shut access to websites calling for mass protest and extremism, Ampelonskiy said. A Facebook representative declined to comment.

The site promoted a Jan. 15 rally backing opposition leader Alexey Navalny, who is facing a prison term of as much as 10 years. Putin signed laws this year that tighten his grip over information flows on the Internet, extending the government’s influence beyond more traditional media such as television and newspapers.

Facebook is trying to balance its push for more users in Russia with regulatory demands. The Menlo Park, California-based company had 10.5 million users in Russia as of July, trailing Moscow-based Mail.ru Group Ltd.’s social networks VKontakte and Odnoklassniki, which had 59 million and 53 million users respectively, according to ComScore Inc.

Russian law gives the authorities powers to seek to block access to webpages calling for mass protest and extremism without a court decision, Ampelonskiy said. The agency is seeking to prevent access to further Facebook pages, as well as posts on other social networks, including VKontakte, he said.

VKontakte has been receiving such requests, its spokesman Georgy Lobushkin said by phone from St. Petersburg, declining to elaborate further.

Navalny, a 38-year-old anti-corruption lawyer turned politician, and his brother are scheduled to get a court verdict on Jan. 15 for alleged violations while doing business with Yves Rocher’s Russian unit. Navalny, who says the trial is staged, has used social networks to invite his supporters to a “popular gathering” on that day.


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The blocking of a Facebook Inc. page promoting a Russian opposition rally highlights the challenges the social network faces in the country as President Vladimir Putin seeks more control over the Web.Facebook agreed to block the page at the request of Russian communications...
russia, putin, tighter, control
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2014-46-23
Tuesday, 23 Dec 2014 06:46 AM
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