Russia Threatens to Block Facebook, Twitter, Google For Failing to Report Political Bloggers

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The U.S. Internet giants are told they must comply with a new law that says bloggers with more than 3,000 readers a day must be tracked.

Russian authorities have told leading U.S. social media firms Google, Twitter and Facebook that they face being blocked if they fail to abide by a strict new Internet law.

Media watchdog Roskomnadzor says the companies must register bloggers who have more than 3,000 readers a day and take down websites calling for "unsanctioned protests and unrest."

The regulator says that because encryption technology used by the firms does not allow authorities to block specific sites, they will have no choice but to entirely block access to the services of the U.S. Internet giants if they are found to be violating the new law.

Critics have accused the Kremlin of extending media censorship under the law. Last January all three social media companies resisted pressure to remove posts by opposition activist Alexander Navalny calling for a mass protest in Moscow. Thousands of people rallied at the unsanctioned demonstration against President Vladimir Putin, which passed off peacefully, despite dozens of arrests, including Navalny, who was seized by police for breaching a curfew order.

Roskomnadzor says it sent letters this week to Google, Facebook and Twitter, asking them to comply with the new law, according to wire agencies reports.

"In our letters we regularly remind (companies) of the consequences of violating the legislation," Roskomnadzor spokesman Vadim Ampelonsky said.

The companies were required to monitor bloggers themselves and take down websites that the regulator deemed as calling for "unsanctioned protests and unrest," he added.