MOSCOW (Reuters) – Facebook, Twitter and other social networks must have databases of Russian users on Russian territory by July 1 or face fines, the Interfax news agency cited communications regulator Roskomnadzor as saying on Wednesday.
Russia is considering legislation that would force foreign technology companies to open offices in Russia or face penalties such as advertising bans, as part of Moscow’s wider efforts to exert greater control over Big Tech.
Google and Facebook were fined on Tuesday for failing to delete content Moscow deems illegal, while Twitter has been the victim of a punitive slowdown since March.
Facebook, Twitter and others must localise their databases of Russian users by July 1 or face a fine of up to 18 million roubles ($245,100) for non-compliance, the deputy head of Roskomnadzor Milos Wagner was cited as saying on Wednesday.
Facebook, Twitter and Roskomnadzor did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
“Two companies have already been held administratively responsible last year for failing to comply with this demand,” Wagner said.
Facebook and Twitter were fined 4 million roubles each in February 2020 for breaching Russian data law.
Wagner said Facebook had since paid the fine, but Twitter was still appealing. He said Roskomnadzor was still waiting for detailed information on how the two companies would meet the data law requirements by July 1.
Roskomnadzor told Interfax that Apple, Samsung and PayPal were among the more than 600 foreign companies to have localised data in Russia.
Microsoft’s LinkedIn is blocked in Russia after a court found it breached the data-storage rule, passed in 2015, which required all data about Russian citizens to be stored within the country.
($1 = 73.4400 roubles)
(Reporting by Alexander Marrow and Anastasia Teterevleva; Editing by)