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Netflix, TikTok block services in Russia to avoid crackdown

Netflix, TikTok block services in Russia to avoid crackdown


Providers of internet-based services and apps have been mostly reluctant to take actions that could deprive Russian citizens of social media services and other sources of information.




And two of the so-called Big Four accounting firms said Sunday they were cutting ties to the country. KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers both said they would end their relationships with their Russia-based member firms, each of which employs thousands of people.




That changed Friday when Russian President Vladimir Putin intensified a crackdown on media outlets and individuals who fail to hew to the Kremlin line on the war, blocking Facebook and Twitter and signing into law a bill that criminalizes the intentional spreading of what Moscow deems to be "fake" reports.




"In light of Russia's new 'fake news' law, we have no choice but to suspend live streaming and new content to our video service while we review the safety implications of this law," TikTok said in a statement on Twitter. "Our in-app messaging service will not be affected."




"The safety of employees is our top priority," she said, adding that the video-sharing service — part of China-based tech company ByteDance — didn't want to put either its Russian employees or users at risk of severe criminal penalties. Some protesters who've taken to the streets in Moscow, St. Petersburg and other Russian cities to decry the invasion of Ukraine have used social media platforms to broadcast their cause.




Multiple news outlets have also said they would pause their work inside Russia to evaluate the situation. Russian authorities have repeatedly and falsely decried reports of Russian military setbacks or civilian deaths in Ukraine as "fake" news. State media outlets refer to Russia's invasion of Ukraine as a "special military operation" rather than a war or an invasion.