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1 Oct, 2022 22:02

Russia bans SoundCloud

Access to the platform has been blocked over “calls for massive civil unrest” and “extremist activities”
Russia bans SoundCloud

SoundCloud, one of the world’s largest music sharing and streaming services, has been blocked in Russia as of Saturday. The nation’s media regulator, Roskomnadzor, banned the platform following a request from the Prosecutor General’s Office.

The platform ran afoul of Russia’s data protection law, according to information provided by Roskomnadzor. The platform violated a regulation that prohibits “calls for massive civil unrest, extremist activities,” and spreading “false information of public importance,” which could have grave consequences for public peace or people’s lives and health, the agency said.

The reason for the ban remains unclear. Neither Roskomnadzor nor the Prosecutor General’s Office has issued statements so far.

The Berlin-based music sharing and streaming service, which allows users to upload, promote, and share audio, has not commented on the ban either. 

The Russian media watchdog has previously fined a number of Western tech companies multiple times for violating Russian law. In July, it imposed fines on US companies including Tinder, WhatsApp, and Snapchat over their refusal to comply with Russia’s data localization regulations. Roskomnadzor had previously reported that around 600 representative offices of foreign companies including Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, PayPal, Booking, and LG had localized the storage of Russian users’ personal data as required. 

In March, Russia also banned Facebook and Instagram after designating their owner, US company Meta, as an extremist organization over its refusal to remove what Moscow considered to be false content about the conflict in Ukraine.

Earlier this week, Roskomnadzor accused Apple of “discriminatory restrictions” over its removal of social media company VK’s apps from its App Store. The US tech giant responded by citing the need to comply with the sanctions on Russia, explaining that VK’s apps are distributed “by developers majority-owned or majority-controlled by one or more parties sanctioned by the UK government.”