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Russia May Block Access to Facebook


FILE - A young woman checks her smartphone at Red Square in Moscow, Russia, July 2016. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

Russia will block access to Facebook next year unless the social network follows a law requiring the use of Russian servers to store personal data of Russians.

The threat was made by Roskomnadzor, the agency overseeing communications, information and media in Russia.

Alexander Zharov is head of the agency. He said companies that do not follow the law will no longer work in the Russian Federation, according to the Interfax news agency.

“There will be no exceptions,” he said.

The announcement came several days after Facebook said accounts with Russian ties bought advertising related to the 2016 U.S. election. Facebook has agreed to share the ads with U.S. Congressional investigators.

Several Russian opposition groups have also used Facebook to organize protests and share political messages.

Zharov also said that Facebook has a large number of users in the Russian Federation. He added that Facebook is not unique, however, and there are other social media websites that Russians can use.

When asked about Roskomnadzor’s demands for Facebook, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the American company had to follow the law like everyone else.

Last November, the Russian agency blocked access to LinkedIn’s website. It said LinkedIn was guilty of violating the law. The law was approved by President Vladimir Putin and enacted in 2015.

Twitter, another social network, had already told Roskomnadzor that it would use servers in Russia by June or July of 2018.

I’m Susan Shand.

Susan Shand adapted this story for Learning English based on Reuters news reports. Hai Do was the editor.

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Words in This Story

access - n. permission or the right to enter, get near, or make use of something or to have contact with someone

exception – n. a case where a rule does not apply

enact – v. to become part of the law

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