TikTok to suspend creation of new content in Russia, Netflix shuts down service – National
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.
Unplugging online entertainment – and news – is likely to further isolate the country and its people after a growing number of multinational companies have cut off Russia from vital financial services, technology and a variety of products consumption in response to Western economic sanctions and global outrage over the invasion of Ukraine.
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US credit card companies Visa, Mastercard and American Express all said over the weekend that they would cut service in Russia. South Korea’s Samsung Electronics, a leading supplier of smartphones and computer chips, said it would halt product shipments to the country, joining other big tech companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Intel and Dell.
And two of the so-called big accounting firms said on Sunday they were cutting ties with the country. KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers will end their relationships with their Russia-based member firms, which each employ thousands of people.
Ukraine’s Digital Transformation Minister Mykhailo Fedorov called on US tech companies to do more on Sunday to retaliate against Russia. He tweeted open letters asking Apple and Google to shut down their app stores in Russia and Amazon and Microsoft to suspend cloud services.
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Internet service and application providers have mostly been reluctant to take actions that could deprive Russian citizens of social media services and other sources of information.
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That changed on Friday when Russian President Vladimir Putin stepped up 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 “false reports.
Netflix didn’t elaborate on the reason for suspending services on Sunday, except to say it reflected “the circumstances on the ground.” The company previously said it would refuse to broadcast Russian state TV channels.
TikTok said Russian users of its 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.
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“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 the security,” TikTok said in a statement on Twitter. “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 video-sharing service — part of China-based tech company ByteDance — didn’t want to expose its Russian employees or users to any threats. severe criminal penalties. Some protesters who have taken to the streets of Moscow, St. Petersburg and other Russian cities to denounce the invasion of Ukraine have used social media platforms to spread their cause.
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New ‘fake news’ legislation, quickly 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 to the against the Russian government’s narrative of 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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