Russia Opens Civil Cases Against Facebook and Twitter

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Facebook's logo is seen in Ankara, Turkey on July 25, 2018.

Russia's communications regulator, Roskomnadzor, said Monday that it was opening civil proceedings against Twitter and Facebook.

The watchdog argued that the U.S. technology giants failed to properly explain when and how they were going to comply with local legislation requiring that Russians’ personal data should be stored on servers within the country. The watchdog provided no further details.

The investigation could technically lead Russia to block access to the two social media giants in the country.

Twitter declined to comment on the news. Facebook did not immediately reply to The Hollywood Reporter’s request for comment.

The data storage law was enacted in late 2015. LinkedIn immediately refused to comply and remains blocked in Russia. Facebook and Twitter never said explicitly if they would comply with the law. The Russian government didn’t take any steps until this week. Last week, Facebook began blocking accounts allegedly linked to Kremlin-funded media outlets Russia Today and Sputnik, which might have prompted the watchdog’s move.

Russia first threatened to block access to Facebook and Twitter in October 2017, following the two companies’ announcements that there was sufficient evidence of political activity on their services related to the 2016 U.S. election.

This article was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.