This is in response to fake news law.
Fake News law
On Friday, Russia’s parliament approved a new fake news law. With the new rules, anyone who publishes posts that the Kremlin considers false information about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will be imprisoned. People who are guilty of sharing false data about the armed forces would be incarcerated for up to 15 years. A fine of 1.5 million rubles would also be imposed.
To maintain the safety of its employees, TikTok decided to suspend its operations in the said country. The suspension also protects users who might use it to provide a source of relief during a time of war.
While the social media platform suspends live-streaming and new content to its service, its in-app messaging service won’t be affected.
It will continue to assess the circumstances in Russia to help the company determine when it can fully resume its services. For now, its top priority is the safety of its users and employees.
However, TikTok isn’t the first company that suspends its services in Russia. After the company’s parliament passed the fake news law, BBC announced that it would stop reporting work in Russia.
Banning of Facebook in Russia
Russia also banned Facebook. The said social media platform blocked Russian media outlets, including RT and Sputnik for people in the EU. According to the Russian government, Facebook has 26 cases of discrimination against the country’s media and misinformation resources.
As mentioned, TikTok’s in-app messaging will remain available. It’s not clear if other entities of Facebook would also be inaccessible in the said country.
Meta’s president for global affairs censured Russia’s decision to ban the said platform. The company stated that it would definitely fight back. According to Nick Clegg,
“Soon millions of ordinary Russians will find themselves cut off from reliable information, deprived of their everyday ways of connecting with family and friends, and silenced from speaking out. We will continue to do everything we can to restore our services so they remain available to people to safely and securely express themselves and organize for action.”
Many Tiktokers are using the platform to document the protests on the ground. Some of them are publishing videos about how the economic sanctions are affecting the government and the country. Nationals who are trying to speak out against the government may be penalized or imprisoned.
To express anger and dissatisfaction with the Russian government, users flooded the app with videos of teens cutting up their passports.
Russia launched an invasion of Ukraine last week. The attack started with cyberattacks that targeted the country’s government departments. It was followed malware, ground, sea, and air incursion. News outlets in the affected country reported outages because of the cyberattacks.
The United States, EU, and NATO allies rebuked the invasion. They imposed financial and diplomatic sanctions against Russia. These sanctions are likely to affect trade and finance across the country.
The invasion also affected the wider tech ecosystem of Ukraine. The country has hundreds of larger tech firms and research and development offices for some of the biggest technology brands.