Russia threatens to shut Facebook over local data storage laws

Facebook will be shut down in Russia in 2018 if it fails to comply with requirements to store user data locally.
Facebook will be shut down in Russia in 2018 if it fails to comply with requirements to store user data locally.PHOTO: REUTERS

MOSCOW (BLOOMBERG) - Facebook will be shut down in Russia next year if it fails to comply with requirements to store user data locally, according to the head of Russia's state communications watchdog.

"The law is mandatory for everyone," Alexander Zharov told reporters Tuesday (Sept 26).

The watchdog Roskomnadzor will be forcing foreign internet companies to comply or shut down in the country.

President Vladimir Putin signed a law in 2014 that requires global internet firms to store personal data of Russian clients on local servers.

Companies ranging from Alphabet Inc's Google to Alibaba Group complied, while others like Twitter demanded extra time to evaluate the economic feasibility of doing so.

In November, Roskomnadzor ordered Russian carriers to block access to LinkedIn, citing non-compliance with the law on personal data storage.

Russia is seeking to cut dependence on foreign technology amid political tensions with the US.

It has been developing a secure messenger to replace WhatsApp for government officials and tried to make its Internet less dependent on foreign communications nodes.