- The Washington Times - Friday, April 12, 2019

Facebook was fined Friday for violating the same Russian data law that a Moscow court punished Twitter for a week earlier. Both companies now risk being blacklisted by federal internet regulators as a result of further noncompliance.

Regional media outlets reported that Facebook was fined 3,000 rubles, or about $47, after a court in Moscow’s Tagansky District found the social network guilty of violating legislation that requires foreign internet companies to physically store Russian user data within the country.

Facebook declined to comment on the ruling when reached by The Washington Times.

Twitter received an identical fine a week earlier after the same court sided with government internet regulators who said the company broke the law by failing to provide specific details about how it stores Russian user data. Twitter has declined to comment on that ruling.

Russia enacted the data localization law in 2015, and last year regulators began pressing both Facebook and Twitter to come into compliance. Roskomnadzor, the government’s internet and media watchdog, sent requests to both companies in December seeking details about their plans to adhere with the law, but regulators were unsatisfied with their responses and initiated administrative cases against both in February.

While the 3,000 rubles fine handed down to both companies is the lowest allowed by law, previous offenders of the controversial Russian data localization rules have faced penalties in the form of being outright banned by Roskomnadzor.

Russian internet regulators added LinkedIn to the nation’s blacklist in 2016 after the U.S.-based jobs site refused to locally store Russian user data.

Russian lawmakers in the State Duma advanced legislation Thursday, meanwhile, that would effectively isolate Russia’s internet infrastructure from the rest of the world. It would take effect later this year if signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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