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Social networks must observe laws, persecuting them ‘inadmissible’ — Peskov

May 16, 2014, 19:54 UTC+3 MOSCOW

“It is inadmissible to persecute mass media or social networking services using legal loopholes and differing interpretations of certain laws,” the presidential spokesperson noted

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Dmitry Peskov

Dmitry Peskov

© ITAR-TASS/Alexei Druzhinin

MOSCOW, May 16. /ITAR-TASS/. Social networking websites should comply with Russian laws and regulations to the maximum, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the Izvestia daily on Friday, noting that “laws exist to be observed”.

“It is inadmissible to persecute mass media or social networking services using legal loopholes and differing interpretations of certain laws,” Peskov said. “Both regulatory agencies and social networking websites should comply with the legislation diligently.”

On Friday, the Izvestia daily published an interview with Maxim Ksenzov, the deputy head of Russia's federal telecommunications watchdog Roskomnadzor, who warned about possible blocking of social networking sites in Russia.

Ksenzov said that “an unconstructive position” of CEOs of some international Internet companies such as Facebook and Twitter on issues of compliance with the Russian law, also in the Internet sphere, might lead to blocking the access to these resources in Russia.

“Persisting in negligence for our demands” Twitter specially created the conditions which make blocking of the service in Russia “almost inevitable”, he told the newspaper.

“We can block Twitter or Facebook in Russia within a few minutes,” he said. “We do not see any risks of doing this.”

Ksenzov told ITAR-TASS later that Roskomnadzor was not planning to block Twitter in Russia.

“My remarks about possible blocking are a signal to foreign web platforms that they should forge relationship with regulators of the market where they work,” he said. “No one is going to block Twitter, Facebook or Google, in fact.”

“But under the Russian law, we should block resources propagating extremist materials. And this is not always possible by adding a certain page on a website to the blacklist. It is also impossible in Twitter’s mobile application to block pages. Otherwise, the whole resource can be blocked by a person’s IP address,” Ksenzov said, adding that “going to extremes is unlikely”.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev advised “certain officials” to think twice before announcing possible blocking of social networking websites in Russia.

“As an active user of social networks, I believe that everyone should comply with the Russian law, both networking sites and users,” Medvedev wrote on his Facebook page. “But certain officials who are responsible for the development of this sector should sometimes use their brain and not give interviews announcing closure of social networks.”

Besides Facebook, the prime minister has personal accounts on such social networking sites as LiveJournal, Twitter, VKontakte and Instagram. He also regularly uses the popular video hosting and sharing service, YouTube, to post his video blogs.

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