Facebook and Twitter have been given nine months by Roskomnadzor, the Russian telecom and Internet regulator, to move Russian users’ data onto servers located physically on Russia soil, reports Adrien Henni of East-West Digital News (EWDN).
Roskomnadzor’s head Alexander Zharov expressed “hope” that the two companies will comply with Russian legislation on personal data storage, and that the authorities will not end up having to block access to their sites, Interfax reported on April 22.
Adopted in 2014 and applicable since September 2015, this legislation requires companies operating in Russia to store Russian users’ or clients’ personal data on servers physically located in the country. Numerous foreign and domestic players were concerned, including global players who tended to store their users’ data in borderless clouds (see white paper by EWDN and EY).
While many businesses — including Alibaba, AliExpress, Apple, and Google — have managed to transfer user data from foreign data centres to Russia, others refused or failed to comply.
In December 2018, Roskomnadzor formally requested Twitter and Facebook —, which so far had sent both positive and negative signals on the matter — to provide substantive information on their compliance with the law.
The two companies did send answers in January, but Roskomnadzor judged them to lack “concrete elements on factual compliance with the law or deadlines to apply its provisions in the future.”
As a consequence, Facebook and Twitter faced administrative charges and, earlier this month, were sentenced by a Moscow court to pay small fines.
Ultimately Facebook and Twitter, should they violate the law, could be blocked in Russia – as was the case with LinkedIn in 2016, following two court decisions.