Sun, 25 Jul 2021

MOSCOW, Russia: In a further tightening of its control over foreign social media platforms, the Russian parliament has passed legislation that would oblige U.S. tech giants to open offices in Russia by January 2022 or face punishments.

The law is part of what Russia calls the enforcement of its "Internet sovereignty".

Russia has fined U.S. Internet companies Facebook and Twitter for not deleting content the country bans.

Last March, Russia slowed down the speed of Twitter's internet as punishment for not deleting content Russia disapproved of.

The new Russian law requires foreign-owned sites with more than half a million daily users in Russia to open a local branch office or Russian legal entity.

Without a local presence, foreign websites are able to remain outside of Russia's jurisdiction, parliamentarians said.

The law further calls for those websites that do not open local offices to potentially be barred from search engines and prohibited from posting Russian advertising on their sites.

The bill still needs to be approved by the upper house and signed by President Vladimir Putin. However, the enactment of the law is considered a foregone conclusion, said observers.

(File photo. Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin chairing a briefing with deputy prime ministers).

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