A new Russian law will require large social media companies to open offices in Russia if they don’t want to face advertising bans or other penalties, according to a report by Reuters. The law was reportedly signed by President Vladimir Putin on Thursday and will apply to foreign companies that are “carrying out activities on the internet in Russia.” According to a Russian official, the law affects companies that have over 500,000 Russian visitors a day.
The Russian government has been looking to rein in Big Tech’s influence in the country. In 2019, it introduced a law that required device makers to pre-install Russian-made apps on smartphones, TVs, and computers (with Apple being allowed to instead show the apps to users during the setup process). A host of big tech companies, including Facebook and Google, are also facing charges in the country for allegedly not deleting illegal content from their services, according to a report from Reuters.
Foreign companies having local offices gives governments more leverage
Foreign companies having local offices gives governments more leverage when it comes to enforcing their rules and regulations, when they may otherwise have fewer tools to do so. For example, in May Twitter’s India offices were raided by the police after the social network applied a “manipulated media” label to a politician’s tweet.
Facebook told The Verge it had no comment on the law, and Twitter didn’t immediately respond to request for comment.