- The Washington Times - Friday, January 31, 2020

Facebook and Twitter were each threatened Friday with being fined nearly $100,000 apiece for allegedly failing to comply with a data localization law on the books in Russia.

Roskomnadzor, the Russian government’s internet and media watchdog, announced that the agency initiated new administrative proceedings against each of the American-based companies.

“These companies did not provide information on meeting the requirements for localizing the databases of Russian users of the corresponding social networks on servers located in the Russian Federation,” Roskomnadzor said in a statement published in Russian on the agency’s website.

Russia requires large internet companies to store Russian user data on servers inside the country, and Roskomnadzor has repeatedly pressed both Facebook and Twitter to comply.

Facebook and Twitter were separately fined in 2019 after Roskomnadzor said the companies failed to provide requested information about its policies for storing Russian user data.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has since signed a law significantly increasing monetary penalties for companies found in violation of the country’s data localization policies.

Facebook and Twitter now risk being fined up to 6 million rubles, or roughly $94,000, Roskomnadzor said Friday.

Twitter declined to comment on Roskomnadzor’s announcement when reached by The Washington Times, and Facebook did not immediately respond to an inquiry seeking its reaction.

Roskomnadzor will ask a Russian court within the next three days to consider taking action against the companies, the agency said.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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