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14 Sep 2023

Elena Teslova, Anadolu Agency

Russia: Authorities warn of potential WhatsApp ban if it spreads forbidden information via "unfriendly channels"

Russian communications watchdog warns it may block WhatsApp, 14 September 2023

Russian communications watchdog Roskomnadzor...said it may block WhatsApp messaging service if it continues spreading "prohibited information."

"WhatsApp messenger belonging to Meta may be blocked on the territory of Russia if unfriendly channels with prohibited information are broadcast on it," Russian state news agency TASS said, citing a source in Roskomnadzor.

"The appearance of unfriendly channels with prohibited information will immediately entail a requirement for their removal and, if refused, blocking," it said.

The requirements of Russian legislation apply to all companies, including messengers and social networks that operate in Russia and are oriented towards Russian users, the regulator said.

"We strongly recommend Russian organizations and users to switch to domestic services operating in Russian jurisdiction and complying with Russian legislation."

Meta Platforms on Thursday introduced WhatsApp Channels to allow users follow content on hobbies, sports teams, updates from celebrities, local officials and others in 150 countries.

Social media platforms Facebook and Twitter are already restricted in Russia.