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Netflix, TikTok Suspend Services in Russia As Ukrainian Invasion Continues

Rachel Lang

| Last updated 

Netflix, TikTok Suspend Services in Russia As Ukrainian Invasion Continues

Netflix and TikTok have suspended their services for Russia, joining the swelling ranks of digital providers blocking users in protest over the Kremlin's Ukrainian invasion.

So far Ikea, Disney, Warner Bros, BP, Mastercard, Visa and more have pulled services from Russia.

Netflix's announcement comes after the streaming giant said last week that it would stop all future projects and Russian acquisitions, as well as removing all state-run programming from its site. 

"Given the circumstances on the ground, we have decided to suspend our service in Russia," a spokesperson for Netflix said.

Social media juggernaut TikTok announced it would halt the posting of all content from Russia in the wake of new 'fake news' legislation that could put people at risk.

"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," the company said in a Twitter message.

TikTok's in-app messaging service will not be affected.

"We will continue to evaluate the evolving circumstances in Russia to determine when we might fully resume our services with safety as our top priority."

As of a new bill introduced to Russian parliament, Russians could now face up to 15 years in prison for publishing 'fake news'.

Russian parliament voted unanimously on Friday to approve the draft law, which criminalises the intentional spreading of what Russia deems to be 'fake' reports.

According to Russian news service Tass, those who circulate 'deliberately false information about the Russia’s Armed Forces' will be fined up to 1.5 million rubles or a fine worth the convict’s aggregate wages for up to 18 months.

"Other punishment options are correctional labor for a term of up to one year or compulsory labor for a term of three years, or imprisonment for the same term," the news agency detailed.

As a result, several international news organisations said they would suspend reporting in Russia to protect their journalists.

The BBC, Canadian Broadcasting Company and Bloomberg News have all pulled their correspondents from Russia.

Bloomberg Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait said the change in Russia's criminal code can see any independent reporter turned into a criminal 'purely by association'.

"[It] makes it impossible to continue any semblance of normal journalism inside the country,” he said.

“We will not do that to our reporters.”

CNN and CBS News will no longer broadcast in Russia.

The 'fake news' law was met with international backlash, however the Kremlin defended the new legislation as they believe Russia is facing 'an information war' that required immediate counter-action.

Featured Image Credit: Michele Ursi/Abaca Press/Alamy Stock Photo

Topics: Netflix, TikTok, Viral, Russia, Ukraine

Rachel Lang
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