Initial proposal to make social networks responsible for user generated content in Russia

The main declared purpose of proposed law is to create effective mechanism which could preclude dissemination of illegal information in social networks. That states explanatory note to the draft law. According to explanation note social networks can significantly affect public opinion, at least. Users of social networks play a vital role – they upload, create and generate content. Therefore there are should be at least two subjects of regulation.

Explanation note states that the draft law introduces new subject of regulation – operator of social network – and gives it definition. According to law the operator of social network is an organizer of dissemination of information in internet. Operator provides functioning of informational system and/or program for computer with overall quantity of users, residing in Russia, is more than 2 mln persons.

Such program or informational system is intended or is exploited for receiving, transmitting and/or processing of electronic messages of internet users for the purposes of exchange of electronic messages between internet users, including for the purposes of transmission of electronic messages to an indefinite number of persons. As you can see not only social networks can fall under this definition. It could be also mail system, like YahooMail, Outlook, or even messengers.

There is also little question about users and their place of residence. How social network should verify where the user resides? If user of social network uses premium functions and pays for them, the verification could be made thanks to payment transaction. It could be also made by number of cell phone, by IP address, if the user does not use VPN or any other means in order to hide his or her identity for machine.

What the operator of social network must do under the proposed draft law? First of all it must establish its representative office. It must present in Russia. At the request of the user of social network operator, within the 24 hours following receiving of requirement, must delete or restrict access to information, disseminated in social network, if such information propagandizes a war; contains hate speech; is false, defaming or illegal and prohibited for dissemination in Russia.

The operator must also delete all copies of deleted information in its social network. The operator must keep deleted information for three months. The operator must also make reports on users’ requests and publish them on its web-site.