TikTok limits service in Russia to protect safety of staff and users under new ‘fake news’ law, while Netflix suspends services due to ‘circumstances on the ground’
Video-sharing site TikTok and streaming giant Netflix have respectively limited and cut their services in Russia following the introduction of its “fake news” law.
Under the law, as of Friday anyone who writes news deemed false about the Russian military can be jailed for up to 15 years.
TikTok said it had suspended live streaming and posting new content on its platform from Russia as it assesses the law.
The company said it wanted to ensure the safety of its staff and users.
The BBC, CNN and other media networks have temporarily stopped reporting from Russia in order to protect their journalists.
“In light of Russia’s new ‘fake news’ law, we have no choice but to suspend live-streaming and new content to our video service while we review the safety implications of this law,” TikTk said in a statement.
It added that its in-app messaging service would not be affected.
Users in Russia will continue to be able to view posts, but will not be able to see older posts if they originate from outside the country.
2/ In light of Russia’s new ‘fake news’ law, we have no choice but to suspend livestreaming and new content to our video service while we review the safety implications of this law. Our in-app messaging service will not be affected.
— TikTokComms (@TikTokComms) March 6, 2022
TikTok said it would continue to evaluate “evolving circumstances” in Russia to determine when it might be able to fully resume its services.
TikTok, owned by China’s ByteDance, has one billion users worldwide and is thought to have around 36 million users in Russia.
Until now the company had not spoken out against Russia for the Ukraine invasion, unlike Facebook owner Meta.
But in a statement on its website on Sunday it described the Ukraine conflict as “devastating”.
Netflix said it was suspending services in Russia in protest against the invasion.
Last week it temporarily stopped all future projects and acqusitions in the country as it assessed the situation.
On Sunday, the company said in a statement, “Given the circumstances on the ground, we have decided to suspend our service in Russia.”
Netflix launched in Russia in 2016 and has only about 1 million users there, out of 220 million worldwide.
However, Variety reported that Netflix and its local partner National Media Group had four Russian original productions in development, one of which, crime series Zato, had shooting put on hold.
Visa, MasterCard and American Express have joined the Western companies suspending operations in Russia.
On Sunday KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers said they would no longer have a member firm in Russia due to the invasion.