LinkedIn blocked in Russian, 6 million users are affected

Khushaar Tanveer avatar. By: Khushaar Tanveer
2 minute read

The social network site LinkedIn, which has its roots buried deep in Russia, and has over 6 million active users in the region, is ordered to be closed permanently after a Russian court found the company guilty of violating local data storage laws.

Russia’s communications regulator Roskomnadzor reports that LinkedIn will be unavailable in the country within 24 hours. Previously, there was a fair warning given from the Russian authorities to LinkedIn after the service failed to transfer local user data on servers within its borders. However, no actual deadline was provided for the ban to be put into effect. Some internet providers have already cut access to the site, by restricting ISPs access to the service, and those who haven’t are subjected to receive hefty fines.

LinkedIn, which has its headquarters in the United States, is the first major social network to be blocked by Russian authorities. LinkedIn representatives told the BBC they hoped to meet Roskomnadzor to discuss the block.

The social network is not known for political activity, but has been targeted under a law put in place by President Vladimir Putin in 2014, which apparently came into force just recently. The Kremlin said that the decision was legal and that President Vladimir Putin did not plan to interfere in the case.

A Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov told journalists in Moscow that Roskomnadzor was acting strictly in accordance with Russian law, further adding that they  no intention of intervening in the situation.

A LinkedIn spokesman said: “Roskomnadzor’s action to block LinkedIn denies access to the millions of members we have in Russia and the companies that use LinkedIn to grow their businesses.We remain interested in a meeting with Roskomnadzor to discuss their data localisation request.

The country is being criticized for having tight control over social media networks and Russian social network users fear that blocking LinkedIn is only a first step and that Facebook and Twitter are next to join the line-up, also believing that the ban is more about censorship and control rather than data protection.

The fact that the LinkedIn is now blocked, is definitely a destructive blow against Microsoft. The company was already struggling with maintaining a stable position in Russian network especially because of President Vladimir Putin’s plan to move the country to domestic software.

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