by Graham Pierrepoint
Social media and content sharing sites such as Instagram and YouTube are immensely popular the world over – even over on the other side of the world – it really is incredible just how far some of these brands and services reach! Up until recently, YouTube and Instagram fans in Russia have been able to enjoy photos and videos freely – however, thanks to a recent court case regarding a prominent Russian politician, it is entirely possible that the state may move to block such sites altogether from public use. But why? It’s a little involved.
A court has recently ruled that video and image content of Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch, allegedly conversing with Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Prikhodo regarding US relations, infringed on the former’s privacy – as it appears that the videos and photos were taken candidly and shared without any consent. Some of the data has since been removed from social media completely – but courts have ruled that all footage and photos be taken down. It has even been suggested by the RAEC (the Russian Association for Electronic Communication) to the BBC that both YouTube and Instagram may be blocked completely by the state unless videos and other data are removed.
Watch: ▶ Russia Threatening to Ban YouTube & Instagram Over Video Featuring Oligarch
It appears that, at the time of writing, Alexei Navalny, who is responsible for sharing the content, does not want to take down any of the videos that remain online as he claims that they show evidence of political corruption. It is an ongoing feud which has embroiled the very upper echelons of Russian government, meaning that matters regarding remaining video content online are being taken very seriously indeed – what will happen if Navalny continues to refuse to take down such content? He may face further prosecution – and it could mean curtains for YouTube and Instagram for millions of users across Russia.
At the time of writing, neither Instagram nor YouTube have commented on the issues at stake – and it is not entirely clear what may happen in the long term. Any chance of both sites being blocked is speculative, at least for now – but if Navalny continues to persist in retaining the content online, it could leave millions of people without the entertaining sites that they have otherwise been freely allowed to peruse. As always – as soon as any more news breaks – we will certainly let you know!