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SoundCloud was banned in Russia for spreading bogus news

The Russian media regulator Roskomnadzor said on Sunday that the country has banned SoundCloud, one of the major online sound distribution platforms, for propagating false information regarding Russia’s military assault in Ukraine.

Based on the Roskomnadzor report cited by multiple outlets, SoundCloud was displaying “materials containing misleading info about the core of [Russia’s] special ground offensive in the region of Ukraine,” so the Prosecutor General’s Office requested that access to the service be suspended.

Particularly, the regulator pointed to claims that Russian troops caused “many civilian fatalities” during the military operation and that its “shape, tactics of warfare (attacks on people, hits on civilian infrastructure), and numerous civilian casualties” were all untrue.

Roskomnadzor said that it had twice requested that the platform’s owner remove the offensive contents and that such “false information” is susceptible to being instantly banned in accordance with Russian law.

This site will be unblocked if the watchdog determines that “the forbidden material has been deleted.”

On Saturday, SoundCloud was stopped in Russia after Roskomnadzor said the service had broken Russian privacy laws. Another allegation was that they spread “false information of public significance” and violated rules against “calls for huge civil disorder, extremist actions.”

Many Western IT companies have been hit with fines and other restrictions from the Russian government in recent months for violating local law.

Social media sites Facebook and Instagram were labeled as extremist groups and banned in Russia in March for enabling hateful speech against the country’s citizens online.

A Moscow court punished Snapchat, Tinder, plus WhatsApp at the end of July for failing to localize Russian users’ data inside the country. Google, the American search engine, was hit with the same fine for failing to censor content related to the situation in Ukraine.

Prior to that, another prominent music streaming service, Spotify, pulled out of Russia, citing the law that makes it illegal to deliberately disseminate incorrect information about the operations of Russia’s armed forces as the reason for its departure.

Russia passed a bill in early March that empowers authorities to penalize severely anybody who speaks ill of the Russian military or advocates for restrictions against Moscow. The maximum possible jail term for a crime with “grave consequences” is fifteen years.

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