Facebook suffered the most from Russian legislation, becoming the first American tech giant to face a complete lockdown in the country, followed by Twitter.
The blockage occurred after Facebook’s parent company, Meta, announced its decision to restrict access to the state-owned news channels Russia Today (RT) and Sputnik in Europe, which Roskomnadzor counted “26 cases of discrimination against Russian media».
“Earlier this week, we announced that we would restrict access to RT and Sputnik in the EU. At the request of the UK government, we will also restrict access to RT and Sputnik in the UK,” a Meta representative said.
Youtube also blocked access to the same channels, as well as the channels of Vladimir Solovyov (a Russian journalist with pronounced pro-Kremlin rhetoric) and other Russian news channels, such as Rossiya 1, TNT, Zvezda, Ren TV and others, at the request of Alexander Tkachenko, the Minister of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine. Google has also banned Russian state media from monetizing its content.
Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, said that they are developing tools for “banning the Kremlin’s media machine in the EU».
Youtube and Google have disabled advertising for Russian users (as well as advertising revenue) due to a series of pacifist commercials that were shown to residents of the Russian Federation and which Roskomnadzor opposed.
«Such advertising messages are shown to Russian YouTube users and contain misinformation aimed at creating a distorted perception of current events among the Russian Internet audience and creating protest moods“, – stated in the message of Roskomnadzor.
Tik Tok, OnlyFans and Netflix are suspending their activities in Russia, while Tik Tok is concerned about a new law prohibiting the dissemination of disinformation about the Russian army. Creators who violate the law face up to 15 years in prison.
The Chinese company ByteDance Ltd, which owns the application, suggested in a statement that although the platform can bring people together in such tragic times, their concern for the safety of their users and employees remains a priority.
However, the consequences for Russian citizens do not seem to be limited to the loss of access to their favorite platforms. Youtube is under threat of blocking, as a result of which many will lose access to alternative news.
«It will be like going back to the 1980s for people who lived in that era, because suddenly the information is back in the hands of the state“, – said Alp Toker, director of NetBlocks.
Similar feelings were shared by the owners of other companies that faced blockages in Russia. Nick Clegg, president of global relations at Meta, suggested that the restriction would cut off millions of Russians from reliable information, silence them and deprive them of communication with their families and friends.
Technology corporations and payment networks are temporarily leaving the market
Apple has joined the companies that announced the suspension of the release and sale of their products in Russia. Apple also banned RT and Sputnik from accessing the app store outside the country.
Visa, Mastercard and American Express are suspending their operations in Russia, although already issued cards will continue to work inside Russia. A week before, Mastercard blocked several financial institutions in its payment network.
«Visa takes immediate measures to ensure compliance with applicable sanctions and is ready to comply with additional sanctions that may be applied,” Visa representatives commented in a statement.
Russian banks advised citizens to switch to the Russian “World” and Chinese UnionPay co-branding cards. The Lithuanian company Paysera has closed Russian accounts and stopped transactions in rubles. Paypal has also stopped providing its services.
Microsoft, Adobe, DXC Technology, Oracle, Forcepoint, Fortinet, Mikrotik, Lenovo, Samsung, Dell, Spotify, HP and Cisco will either completely stop deliveries or temporarily close in Russia. For users of Miscosoft, HP, Dell, Lenovo, Fortinet, Oracle and Cisco’s withdrawal from the market will lead to serious cybersecurity problems, as software fixes and updates will stop working, and all subscriptions will be blocked. Judging by the current situation, updates for the Russian market will not be released, which is likely to spur piracy.