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8 Nov, 2018 14:37

Social media siege: Russian troops barred from posting photos, videos & other data online

Social media siege: Russian troops barred from posting photos, videos & other data online

With social media activities of Russian troops under scrutiny from foreign spies and terrorists, new legislation has banned servicemen from sharing data on themselves, and their brothers in arms, online and in the media.

The MPs in the State Duma voted in the draft law, proposed by the government, in the first reading on Thursday.

The bill outlaws photos, videos, geolocation data and any other information, coming from the troops.

Soldiers, who posted data that allows for the disclosure of their departmental affiliation, service activities, their units and place of their dislocation, may, from now on, face disciplinary sanctions from commanders.

The ban affects both conscripts and contract troops, even those of foreign nationality. However, the wives of the Russian servicemen are free to use social media to their liking. The bill also doesn’t apply to those already dismissed from military service.

Analysis of the activities of the Russian military in Syria and elsewhere revealed that troops are of particular interest to the special services of foreign states and terrorist groups, an explanatory note to the legislation said.

The data shared by the servicemen online is used to apply psychological and information pressure on Russia and its military as well as forming biased opinions on state policies of Russian authorities in society. The bill is aimed at “eradicating” such influence, it added.

The Russian military initially said that troops should refrain from using social media late last year, but back then it was only a recommendation.

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