Russia has changed its mind about giving Facebook and Twitter extra time to fulfill the legal requirement of moving their servers. The law states that data on Russian users is required to be stored inside the country’s borders.
According to newspaper RBK, it was previously thought that the two tech giants, as well as some other companies, would be given until October 30, 2022 to comply. Instead, the government has decided only to grant delays to companies that sell airplane tickets, leaving everyone else scrambling to find a Russian server.
In related news:
(1) Twitter has gone from labeling Russian (and Chinese) state news channels “state affiliated media” (while failing to extend the same standards to Western state-owned outlets such as RFERL, or NATO allies such as Turkey) to actually imposing soft shadowbans on them by excluding them from searches.
— 🇷🇺 ANATꙮLY 🤔 KARLIN (@akarlin88) September 28, 2020
(2) Perhaps even more remarkably, a week ago, Twitter also banned the Valdai Club from its platform, while some people associated with it vanished from my Facebook Friends list.
But why go after Valdai Club? They're basically the "patriotic liberal"/business wing of the Kremlin, who want Russia to remain engaged with the West. They are connected to Saint-Petersburg Economic Forum and the liberal Higher School of Economics is one of its co-founders.
— 🇷🇺 ANATꙮLY 🤔 KARLIN (@akarlin88) September 24, 2020
The Valdai Club is basically a milquetoast economics discussion group. They are not exactly the Orthodox nationalists from Tsargrad TV, which was banned from YouTube in July.
This is information asymmetry. Western platforms are allowed to bombard Russian Internet users with their propaganda, but Russian outlets are increasingly barred from doing so – and not even just the state-owned ones.
Russian youth gets more of its news from the Internet & since 2018, they have been increasingly subverted by Western propaganda and is observable in electoral and polling trends since the 2018 Presidential elections. This is in stark contrast to China, where young people are – if anything – more supportive of the CPC against Western subversion.
If the Putin regime is smart, it needs to make an ultimatum to Silicon Valley, either their provide a level playing field or they’re getting blocked by a Great Firewall. Russia has a domestic Facebook, and it’s not like it’s technically hard to set up a clone of Twitter.