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Russian media watchdog says options of blocking Facebook, Google not under consideration

The issue on the agenda is to make both start fully complying with the Russian legislation, the watchdog's head stressed

MOSCOW, December 18. /TASS/. The Russian media and telecom watchdog, the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media, is not considering the options of blocking Facebook and Google, its head Alexander Zharov said on Tuesday, adding that the Service would like to use big turnover-based fines to enforce legal compliance.

"The issue of blocking Facebook is not on the agenda, the issue on the agenda is to make Facebook start fully complying with the Russian legislation," he said, adding that the same concerns Google.

According to Zharov, legislative rules envisioning fines for companies amounting to a certain percent of their turnover for failure to abide by the Russian law will appear in the near future in the country. "I very much hope that amendments will appear that will envision … fines. I consider the issue of fines, including turnover-based fines, to be of higher priority, particularly as both Google and Facebook conduct certain activities on the territory of the Russian Federation," he said.

Earlier the media watchdog fined Google 500,000 rubles ($7,521) for non-compliance with Russian legislation.

The regulator said earlier that under the Russian law, search engine operators are obliged to exclude references to resources with illegal information from the search results. To do this, they must connect to the Federal State Information System containing a list of prohibited Internet resources.

Zharov added that  Facebook and Twitter have not yet localized their user databases in Russia and the notices about compliance with laws were sent to them,as well.

The regulator sent notices regarding the need to comply with Russian legislation in the user data sphere to Facebook and Twitter on December 17, the official said.

"Accordingly, the deadline will be in 30 days, on January 17, when they should either present legally significant answers or not respond, which means "no." In case of a negative answer we will open an administrative case, impose a fine of 5,000 rubles ($75) and fix the deadline for localization of data by them, from six months to one year," Zharov said.