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Russia to attack U.S. social media platforms in new set of laws – Deadline

The heat on U.S. social media platforms is now blowing from Russia, whose lower house of parliament this week drafted a series of bills cracking down on sites that Moscow says discriminate against its media.

Twitter refers to some Russian media as “affiliated with the state”, for example, which Moscow is opposed to, according to reports.

Supporters of the new Russian laws – which could lead to blocking or slowing down major US social media sites in the country – are building on ready-made complaints from the United States where lawmakers and others particularly on the right have increased accusations that platforms are biased.

Opposition leaders like Alexei Navalny, who accused government agents of trying to poison him in August, are using social media platforms to bypass state media censorship and reach Russians directly.

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Putin’s government is focused on strengthening Russia’s internet sovereignty, a slogan for tighter controls. Another bill would tax companies up to 20% of annual revenues in Russia for not removing banned content. The package also includes measures that would crack down on online slander and leaks of federal security personnel. Others would allow Putin, who was due to step down in 2024, to run for two more six-year terms, allow the government to ban gatherings in emergencies and ban their funding by foreign agents.

The bills were passed by Russia’s lower house, the State Duma.

Twitter, Facebook and YouTube have added warning labels to messages from President Donald Trump and his allies with increasing frequency this year, including the flock of unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud in the November election. The president threatened to repeal Section 230, a decades-old law that protects platforms from legal liability for much of the content being broadcast. More recently, the president attempted to revoke Section 230 using a defense bill, but was rejected by Congress. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel has just revived it in an improbable generic bill related to aid checks.

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