Russian Internet watchdog wants Facebook to explain blocking of Kadyrov’s accounts
Russian internet watchdog Roskomnadzor has requested managers of Facebook and Instagram to give reasons for the recent blocking of accounts belonging to the head of the Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov.
The request was sent to the social networks on Tuesday, Roskomnadzor’s press service told Interfax.
The head of the lower house committee for information policy and communications, Leonid Levin, said on Tuesday that the State Duma was expecting explanations from Facebook and Instagram and that if these did not arrive in the nearest future Russian lawmakers would send an official enquiry to the corporations, similar to that of Roskomnadzor.
“We would prefer this not to be a restriction of the freedom of speech and information, repeatedly described by various rights activists and community leaders who have hinted that Facebook might be abusing its right to restrict access to users’ pages,” Levin said.
Russian Communications Minister Nikolai Nikiforov called the apparent deletion of Kadyrov’s accounts on Facebook and Instagram “a vivid example of double standards,” but declined to make any further comment, saying that legal issues should be dealt with by the Prosecutor General and the Justice Ministry.
Vladimir Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov has told reporters that the Kremlin was concerned over the apparent blocking of Kadyrov’s Instagram and Facebook pages, but added that no one was discussing any reciprocal measures to the move.
Ramzan Kadyrov’s account in the Instagram social network went down on Saturday. The fact was announced by the Chechen minister for information, external relations and ethnic issues, Jambulat Umarov, who told reporters that Kadyrov’s Instagram page had become the target of “a lowly sabotage-like cyberattack.” Kadyrov’s Facebook page also became unavailable on Saturday.
Kadyrov himself replied by registering an account with Chechnya’s own social network Mylistory. “Dear friends, I have created my personal account kadyrov_95 in Mylistory. From now on I will post all important news and photos there,” he wrote in the Telegram messenger. He also jokingly added that employees of the US Department of State can see his channel only after they get a sanction from the Russian Foreign Ministry and the authorities of the Chechen Republic.
The Chechen government reported on Monday that Mylistory’s popularity surged after Kadyrov’s move with 30,000 people joining the previously virtually-unknown network in just one day.