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2 Oct, 2022 11:38

SoundCloud banned for fake news – regulator

The audio service promoted falsehoods about Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine, according to Roskomnadzor
SoundCloud banned for fake news – regulator

Russia has blocked SoundCloud, one of the world’s largest online audio distribution platforms, for spreading misinformation about Moscow’s military campaign in Ukraine, the nation’s media watchdog Roskomnadzor said in a statement on Sunday.

Access to the service has been suspended at the request of the Prosecutor General’s Office because SoundCloud was displaying “materials containing false information about the essence of [Russia’s] special military operation in the territory of Ukraine,” according to the Roskomnadzor document, as cited by various outlets.

In particular, this includes spreading falsehoods about the military campaign’s “form, methods of warfare (attacks on civilians, strikes on civilian infrastructure), as well as about numerous civilian casualties at the hands of Russian soldiers,” the regulator said.

Roskomnadzor noted that, according to Russian legislation, such “fake information” is subject to being immediately blocked, adding that it had twice demanded that the platform’s owner delete the objectionable materials.

The watchdog added that “should the prohibited information be removed, the resource will be unblocked.”

SoundCloud was blocked in Russia on Saturday, with Roskomnadzor saying at the time that the platform had violated Russia’s data protection law. It also claimed that the service flouted regulations prohibiting “calls for massive civil unrest, extremist activities” while disseminating “false information of public importance.”

In recent months, Russian authorities have imposed various restrictions and fines on a number of Western-based tech giants for failing to comply with local legislation. In March, the platforms Facebook and Instagram were banned in Russia as extremist organizations after they allowed online hate speech against the country’s nationals.

In late July, a Moscow court fined social media platforms Snapchat, Tinder, and WhatsApp for refusing to localize the data of Russian users in the country. The same punishment was imposed on American search giant Google after it failed to remove prohibited information on the Ukraine conflict.

Prior to that, Spotify, another popular audio streaming service, withdrew from Russia, arguing that it had to do so due to the legislation that criminalizes knowingly publishing false information about the actions of Russia’s armed forces.

In early March, Russia adopted a law that allows the authorities to impose substantial fines on persons and entities for discrediting the Russian army or calling for sanctions against Moscow. If an offense leads to “grave consequences,” the perpetrator could face a prison sentence of up to 15 years.

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