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Media watchdog warns Facebook may face block in Russia unless databases are localized

Facebook will be inspected before the end of the year

MOSCOW, April 18. /TASS/. Russia’s telecom and media watchdog, the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media might block Facebook following an inspection in 2018, unless the social networking service localizes its Russian user database in Russia, the watchdog’s chief Alexander Zharov said in an interview with the Izvestia daily.

"We will inspect the company before the end of 2018 since there are several provisions that need to be implemented, including the localization of the Russian user database on Russian soil and the removal of all illegal content. Meanwhile, they are already far behind schedule. Some other laws also must be complied with. In case something fails to be implemented or the Russian government is not notified of their intention to take the necessary action, then the issue of a block will definitely arise," Zharov warned.

He added that he had been holding meetings with Facebook representatives every six months.

According to earlier reports, the latest of these meetings took place in February 2018. Zharov said that the meeting’s participants had discussed issues concerning Facebook’s implementation of Russian laws, which particularly refer to localizing databases, removing illegal content from all of Facebook’s platforms and providing an explanation for the removal of Russian users’ accounts.