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Russia could block YouTube and other major U.S. social media platforms for “censoring” content from Russian state media, according to draft legislation submitted to parliament Thursday.
The draft bill explains that the Prosecutor General’s Office and the Foreign Ministry would be able to identify foreign platforms they view as violating Russians’ rights by restricting content. That designation would allow Russia’s federal media watchdog Roskomnadzor to fully or partially block the platform.
The bill’s explanatory note singles out YouTube, Facebook and Twitter for having “censored” the accounts of Russian state-run news outlets including RT, RIA Novosti and Crimea 24 since April. Facebook and Twitter began labeling state-affiliated media accounts this summer, months after Alphabet’s YouTube introduced similar labels.
“The urgency in adopting the draft law,” says a Reuters translation of the explanatory note, “is due to numerous cases of unjustified restriction of Russian citizens’ access to information in the Russian media.”
The Kremlin said a mechanism is needed to counter the perceived discrimination of Russian content but stopped short of endorsing the restrictions.
“Discriminatory actions against Russian clients of these services have taken place,” spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, according to Bloomberg.
“This must be countered,” Peskov …
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