Dennis Jarvis/Flickr

Russia demands Twitter, Facebook store user data inside the country

Is Russia about to ban Facebook and Twitter?


Josh Katzowitz


Published Nov 12, 2015   Updated May 27, 2021, 4:09 pm CDT

More than two months ago, Russia passed a law that required technology companies to keep whatever data it collected on Russian citizens to be stored on servers embedded inside its country. Even though the country’s data watchdog—called Roskomnadzor—originally said that Twitter could ignore the law because the data it collected was not relevant, it turns out Twitter actually will have to comply.

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The same goes for Facebook, as well, and if neither company follows Russia’s demands, both apparently could be banned from the country.

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The reason for the change in policy toward Twitter? Roskomnadzor pointed to an adjustment in the social media site’s terms and conditions for its users.

“They changed their user agreement some months ago. And if you read that, people must provide a set of metadata, which in our understanding as a whole counts as personal data and [makes it possible] to identify an individual,” Roskomnadzor’s Alexander Zharov told the Financial Times, via the BBC.

As the BBC points out, those who agree with Russia’s new law say it will protect its citizens’ personal information while increasing national security. But it also could be said that Russia is simply trying to increasingly control the Internet.  

Though Twitter declined to comment to the BBC and AFP, it could be expensive for the website to comply with the law.

“Although the data law is technically already in effect, there is a grace period until the end of the year for companies to comply,” wrote Business Insider. “After all, compliance requires building (or leasing) new data centers and significant restructuring of how data is handled internally— an onerous requirement for big tech companies with hundreds of millions of users.”

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Photo via Dennis Jarvis/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0) 

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*First Published: Nov 12, 2015, 2:30 pm CST