Kenneth Rapoza – If you want to know just how bad censorship of the internet is in Russia, you’ll have to ask the owners the country’s biggest social network Vkontakte and not Facebook. Based on Facebook’s Government Requests Report, released on Friday, Russian authorities asked Facebook only once between January and June 2015.
By comparison, U.S. law enforcement reached out to Facebook 17,577 times, leading the company to look into the accounts of 26,579 users. Roughly 80% of the time, user data was turned over to authorities for further review or as evidence in police or official investigations.
When governments believe something on Facebook violates their laws, they contact social media and other web-based entities and ask them to restrict user access to specific content. Facebook says that whenever it receives a request, it is scrutinized to determine if the specified content does indeed violate local laws. If they determine that it does, then Facebook makes it unavailable in the relevant country or territory.
For example, Holocaust denial is illegal in Germany so if a user is posting content on that topic to their personal webpage, it can be washed by Facebook under German law.
Russia has 28 restrictions on its books, while the U.S. has none. But despite those restrictions, the majority of the locals are okay with internet censorship, according to polls.
Check this out on Russian netizens:
The All-Russian Center for the Study of Public Opinion (VTsIOM), said that 49% of respondents supported censorship of the interwebs. Some 42% of Russians are online junkies while another 38% are say they’re never plugged in.
Seventy-three percent of respondents said “negative information” about state employees should not be published on the internet (read: government officials, as in Vladimir Putin), while 42% said that foreign governments were using the web as a means to sell propaganda to Russians. Forty-five percent said they support the idea of blocking the websites of foreign media outlets.