Russia clears way to block Facebook, YouTube for ‘censorship’

Russia clears way to block Facebook, YouTube for ‘censorship’
This file photo taken on October 1, 2019, shows the logos of mobile apps Facebook and Google displayed on a tablet in Lille, France.(AFP)
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Updated 23 December 2020

Russia clears way to block Facebook, YouTube for ‘censorship’

Russia clears way to block Facebook, YouTube for ‘censorship’
  • The Kremlin in recent years has stepped up its efforts to control the Russian segment of the Internet under the pretext of combatting online extremism

MOSCOW: Russian lawmakers on Wednesday moved a step closer to allowing regulators to block Internet platforms like Facebook and YouTube if they are deemed to have censored content produced by Russians.
Russia’s lower house of parliament, which passed draft legislation in a third reading, said in a media release that authorities can target platforms if they have been found to limit information based on nationality and language.
The lower house State Duma added that Internet websites could also be sanctioned “in the event of discrimination against the content of Russian media.”
In an explanatory note attached to the bill, the authors wrote that authorities have been receiving complaints this year from Russian media that their accounts have been censored by “foreign Internet platforms Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.”
Earlier this year the US tech giants introduced labels for state-affiliated media outlets.
The legislation now needs to get approval from the upper house Federation Council before President Vladimir Putin signs it into law — steps that are considered to be formalities.
The Kremlin in recent years has stepped up its efforts to control the Russian segment of the Internet under the pretext of combatting online extremism.
In 2018 regulators ordered the encrypted messenger service Telegram to be blocked, although those attempts were ended earlier this year after its co-founder Pavel Durov reported on steps to combat extremism.
Last week a Moscow court fined Google for not taking down online content banned by Russian authorities, the latest in a series of escalating penalties.
In February a Moscow court fined Twitter and Facebook for ignoring a Russian law requiring them to store Russian citizens’ user data inside the country.


Omnicom’s 180 agency launches in MENA

Omnicom’s 180 agency launches in MENA
Updated 18 January 2021

Omnicom’s 180 agency launches in MENA

Omnicom’s 180 agency launches in MENA
  • 180 launched its first office in Amsterdam nearly 20 years ago with a second one in Los Angeles

RIYADH: Omnicom agency 180 is expanding into the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region with offices in Dubai and Doha.

180 launched its first office in Amsterdam nearly 20 years ago with a second one in Los Angeles. Along with its MENA offices in the UAE and Qatar, the agency is now also setting up shop in New York as part of its expansion strategy.

The agency’s global operations are led by Amsterdam-based CEO Sander Volten, alongside Al Moseley, global chairman and chief creative officer, based in Los Angeles. 

“Since the founding of 180, the agency has always been hyper focused on bringing different and fresh perspectives to our clients and consumers,” said Volten.

“With its interconnected hubs across different continents, 180 provides a fresh new perspective, emanating from an ecosystem of expertise, international talent, and modern creative solutions powered by data, audience intelligence, and social to better serve clients and give their brands relevance on a global scale.” 

Youssef Chahine, general manager at 180’s sister agency TBWA\RAAD, will lead the operations of the MENA hub, although it is unclear as to whether he will maintain both roles.

“We intend to be a premium partner to the region’s most ambitious brands, ensuring they have access to transformative, world-class talent to help them lead on both a global and regional scale,” said Chahine.

The MENA team will work day-to-day with clients on the ground and will have access to the brand building, design, brand strategy, digital, and partnership experience of the 180 ecosystem in Los Angeles, New York, and Amsterdam.

Although 180 MENA is launching now, the agency has been working with regional clients such as Qatar Airways and Al Jazeera for nearly 10 years through its Amsterdam office.

Moseley said: “After a decade of experience in the region, we are excited about having a team on the ground. We think it’s fair to say that if there is one region on Earth that knows what it means to see the world as it could be, it’s the MENA region.”