Russia passes laws to restrict US social media influence News, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Russia passes laws to restrict US social media influence

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed multiple laws Wednesday to restrict the influence of US social media companies like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

The first law passed by the president allows Russia to block internet sites that allegedly discriminate against Russian media, while the second imposes a substantial fine on social media companies that fail to remove content banned by Russia. The third law prohibits leaking information related to Russian security officers, and the fourth imposes a two-year prison sentence for online slander. The final law allows for Russia to name individuals as “foreign agents” and imprison them for five years if they fail to properly report their activities. The country has since added human rights activists and journalists, as well as a women’s rights organization, to its foreign agent list. Foreign agents would also be required to “inform the authorized body on a quarterly basis about the volume and purposes of the received foreign funding and its actual expenditure.”

Last week, Putin signed new laws to extend his power in office from 2024 for two additional, six-year terms. Additionally, he had signed into law presidential immunity to prohibit prosecution of Russian presidents after leaving office.

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