Russia threatens to fine TikTok and other social media platforms

Russia has threatened to fine social media platforms, saying the media companies will face fines for refusing to remove posts that encourage young people to participate in opposition rallies.

The Russian media watchdog said  Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and others ignored the government's directives to remove the posts. The media watchdog said the fines could be as much as 4 million rubles ($53,000; £39,000).

Protests rallies were held in support of the jailed opposition leader 

Thousands of people disregarded the heavy police presence. The crowd protested against the illegal detention of prominent Kremlin critic, Alexi Navalny. 

Social media played a key role in encouraging young people to attend rallies. Posts promoting the demonstrations were viewed hundreds of millions of times on TikTok alone. The videos spurred Russia's official media watchdog, Roskomnadzor, to mandate TikTok and take down any information encouraging minors to behave illegally.

Roskomnadzor said social media companies would be fined for not complying with the state's demand to suppress the spread of signals to minors to participate in unauthorized rallies.

The statement from Roskomnadzor revealed that the internet platforms refused to remove up to 170 illegal videos in the petition of the prosecutor general's office. 

President Vladimir Putin accused social media companies of competing with the state 

Russian President Vladimir Putin during his speech at the virtual Davos economic summit expressed displeasure at the growing influence of social media companies which he said would be dangerous to the state in the long run, adding that the boundaries between having a successful global business and attempting to control the actions of citizens have been crossed. 

He added that the tech companies aren't just social media companies, citing the United States as an example of the tech giants' power. 

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