Netflix and TikTok block services in Russia to avoid repression | national news

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Netflix and TikTok suspended most of their services in Russia on Sunday as the government cracks down on what people and the media can say about Russia’s war in Ukraine.

TikTok said Russian users of the popular social media app will no longer be able to post new videos or live streams, nor will they be able to view videos shared elsewhere in the world.

Netflix said it was suspending its service in Russia but did not provide further details.

These actions risk further isolating the country and its people after a growing number of multinational corporations cut Russia off from vital financial services and tech products in response to Western economic sanctions and global outrage over the invasion of Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday intensified a crackdown on media outlets and individuals who do not toe the Kremlin line on war, blocking Facebook and Twitter and signing into law a bill that criminalizes the intentional dissemination of what Moscow considers to be “false”. reports.

“In light of Russia’s new ‘fake news’ law, we have no choice but to suspend live streaming and new content from our video service while we consider the implications of this law on security,” TikTok said in a statement on Twitter on Sunday. “Our in-app messaging service will not be affected.”

TikTok spokeswoman Hilary McQuaide said the TikTok app in Russia now appears in “view only” mode and does not allow people to post or view new videos or live streams. They can still see older videos, but not if they’re from outside the country, she said.

“Employee safety is our top priority,” she said, adding that the company – part of China-based tech company ByteDance – did not want to expose its Russian employees or users to harsh criminal penalties.

New legislation, swiftly approved by both houses of the Kremlin-controlled parliament and signed by Putin, imposes prison terms of up to 15 years for those who spread information that goes against the Russian government’s narrative on the war.

Several news outlets also said they would suspend work in Russia to assess the situation. Russian authorities have repeatedly and falsely decried reports of Russian military setbacks or civilian deaths in Ukraine as “fake” news. State media is calling Russia’s invasion of Ukraine a “special military operation” rather than a war or an invasion.

The law provides for penalties of up to three years or fines for spreading what authorities consider to be false news about the military, but the maximum penalty is 15 years for cases deemed to have resulted in ” serious consequences”.

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Follow AP coverage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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