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New draft law proposes to oblige social networks to bear responsibility in Russia for user’s content

Explanatory note to this draft law reveals its main goal – to prevent dissemination of illegal information in social networks. Note also underlines, that European countries also pay attention to regulation for social networks. Therefore, Russian legislators decided to be in trend, like foreign legislators.

New additional amendments to the law on information, its protection and informational technologies have been proposed. Draft law defines operator of social network. It is an organiser of dissemination of information in Internet network providing functioning of informational system and/or software for computers, which counts more than 2 million users, residing in Russia, and which (system and/or software) are intended and/or used for receiving, transferring and/or processing of electronic messages of Internet users in order to exchange messages between Internet users, and also for transferring of messages to uncertain circle of persons.

But messengers, like Viber, WhatsApp also fall under this definition. This definition is not suitable for social networks or their operators. This definition also is not clear as regards to territorial aspect of it applicability. What also means “more than 2 million of users”? Whether it is registered users, or it means only visitors, or it means visitors and registered users?

The operator of social network must have its representative office in Russia. Operator also must restrict access to information, disseminated in social network in violation of Russian law. It means hate speech, false or defamatory information, or any other information if its dissemination in Russia entails criminal or administrative responsibility.

Restriction of access to information must be executed within 24 hours following the requirement. But it is not enough for legislator. The draft law also obliges operator of social network to delete all copies, made by users, of such information in social network and keep such information within three months.

But there is one interesting thing. Initially the draft law provided fines for violation of its provisions. But then these fines have been excluded and current version of draft law does not provide responsibility for violation of its provisions.