Government Takedown Requests from Russia Double, Facebook Reports

Images mixed by Tetyana Lokot.

Images mixed by Tetyana Lokot.

Facebook, one of the most popular social networks in Russia, reported that content restriction requests from the Russian government increased nearly two-fold during the second half of 2014.

In a new installment of their Global Government Requests Report, spanning a period from July 2014 to December 2014, Facebook reported only two government requests for user account data in Russia, and said it did not fulfill any of them. In contrast, Facebook received no government requests for Russian users’ data during the first half of 2014.

At the same time, Facebook reported that it restricted access to 55 pieces of content in Russia, based on requests from Russian authorities (compared to 29 content restriction requests fulfilled during the first half of 2014). The network did not specify how many requests overall were received, and what percentage were fulfilled.

We restricted access in Russia to some content reported by The Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology, and Mass Media under local laws prohibiting content that promotes drug use and self-harm, extremist activities, unsanctioned mass riots/marches, and for violating the integrity of the Russian Federation.

Compared to the first half of 2014, the new categories of restricted content on Facebook in Russia include content about “unsanctioned mass riots/marches” and content “violating the integrity of the Russian Federation.”

In December 2014, Facebook blocked Russian users’ access to the event page of a mass protest in support of opposition figure Alexey Navalny, causing widespread consternation from the RuNet. Facebook representatives subsequently vouched not to block any further protest-related content or pages in Russia.

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