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Facebook in Russia

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2019

Roskomnadzor accused Google and Facebook of intervention in elections

Roskomnadzor accused Facebook and Google of illegal distribution of political materials in "day of silence" before elections of deputies on September 9, 2019. Department said that it is possible to consider such actions as "intervention in sovereign affairs of Russia and hindrance to carrying out democratic elections". Read more here.

Roskomnadzor wrote out a penalty of Facebook

Management of Roskomnadzor across Central Federal District made in March, 2019 the protocol on administrative offense concerning Facebook company. The protocol is made under the Article 19.7 of the Code of the Russian Federation on Administrative Offences because the company did not provide the necessary information on localization of bases of personal data of the Russian users in the territory of Russia, says department.

In December, 2018 Roskomnadzor sent the corresponding motivated inquiry to the address of Facebook, but the answer did not receive.

The document will be sent to the magistrate for decision about the administrative responsibility to the terms set to the Code of the Russian Federation on Administrative Offences. The maximum penalty under this article of the Administrative Code makes 5000 rubles.

2018: Facebook noted 65 thousand Russians as "interested in treason"

In July, 2018 it became known that the advertizing mechanism of Facebook marked 65 thousand users from Russia as "interested in high treason". Later, when journalists began to investigate a situation, tags were removed, and the category — is liquidated. The The Guardian edition considers that such marking could draw potentially to the marked users attention of the authorities[1].

Facebook explained that not treason as criminal article, and the interest of users in this subject in the history, viewing the corresponding materials by them meant. The company claims that it excluded category from the heading "Interests" because on sounding it really matches treason as crime.

Facebook does not show the interests of the user to other persons, but advertisers can see these interests, using some of public tools of social network. These tools allow to start, for example, the advertizing campaign aimed only at users from Russia, "interested in high treason", and to learn the IP addresses of those users who will click on the declaration.

2017

Search of the manager on interaction with Russian authorities

At the beginning of June it became known that the companies Google and Facebook opened vacancies of specialists in interaction with Russian authorities[2][3].

The Moscow office Google looks for the person who will interact with politicians as a part of the government and beyond its limits and also to advise a command of rather local features of development and promotion of services.

The candidate should have experience of interaction with officials and state structures and also to have capability easy to penetrate into difficult technical and political affairs. Besides, from the applicant wait for excellent analytical and organizational skills, good sense of humour and excellent communicative capabilities.

Facebook offers the candidate work in Warsaw. The applicant for a position should combine "passionate interest in the services similar to Facebook, and deep understanding of political and legislative dynamics in Russia". He will have to notify colleagues on features of the local legislation and its changes which concern work of Facebook, to represent the company at meetings with officials and to develop an official position of a command on these or those public questions.

The applicant should be fluent in Russian and also have excellent English, both written, and colloquial. In addition, experience with politicians and officials of "the highest level" and "passionate belief in public advantage of the Internet and Facebook in particular" is required.

Only 4 requests for users from Russian authorities

The Facebook company published[4] in April, 2017 the report on transparency from July till December, 2016. During the specified period the social network received in total 64,279 requests for providing data on users - 9% more in comparison with the first half of 2016. Nearly a half of these requests (26,104) arrived from U.S. authorities and in 83% of cases of the information were provided.

Russia demanded data of everything on four users. Despite it, on all requests refused to the authorities. The company does not explain for what reasons it made such decision. Also it is not reported what information interested Russian authorities. Nevertheless, upon the demand of Roskomnadzor the social network limited access to 121 material breaking the Russian laws. They are connected with extremism, trade in alcohol, illegal gamblings, promotion of a suicide and mutilation.

According to representatives of Facebook, the lion share of all requests is connected with criminal offenses, such as robberies and stealing. Generally the authorities request a basic information about the subscriber, for example, his name, content of an account, data on the IP address and as long he is a user of social network.

The company also notes that during the specified period the number of requests for restriction of content - with 9,663 in the first half of 2016 to 6,944 in the second half of the year decreased.

Russian Foreign Ministry: Facebook encourages distribution of misinformation

Moscow has questions to the management of Facebook concerning lack of blocking of false pages of the Russian diplomatic missions abroad. The Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Maria Zakharova said [5] it at a briefing[6].
«
"On April 27, 2017 the Facebook corporation issued the report on the transactions on this social network initiated by different non-governmental players for the purpose of manipulation of public opinion, - the diplomat told. - In an arsenal of the malefactors who located in Facebook distribution through so-called fake accounts of fabricated news and misinformation, spam, harmful materials. We welcome the solution of Facebook corporation to draw attention of world community to risks of use of social networks and especially to a problem of the misleading information campaigns about which we repeatedly spoke", - she emphasized.
»

According to her, Russia is regularly exposed to the perverted information attacks on social networks. "Despite our numerous addresses, Facebook did not block fake accounts of Embassies of the Russian Federation in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, - the diplomat reported. - Besides, lately we reveal similar pseudo-pages at embassy in Sweden which are used for deception of users of this social network".

«
"Actually Facebook encourages with the failure to act distribution of misinformation, - Zakharova emphasized. - At the same time we are grateful to this company for operational steps on unblocking of pages of the Russian foreign institutions which were accepted. But, frankly speaking, it is occupational health. It would be desirable bigger for the purpose of prevention of further promoting of "fakes".
»

2012: Hiring of programmers in universities of Russia

In November, 2012 it became known that three employees of Facebook of the Russian origin - Alexey Maykov, Maxim Gubin and Roman Chadnov working in the company at positions of engineers (Software Engineer) began a lecture tour on the Russian universities.

In the program of a tour which began on November 27, 2012 and, as expected, will terminate on December 11, 12 educational institutions, both capital, and Ural and Siberian, - MSU, MIPT, MEPhI, MAI, SPbSU, SPBGPU, ITMO, GUAP, NGTU, NSU, SIBGUTI, URFA, - and also a performance before students of Tomsk appear.

Proceeding from professional specializations of speakers, it is possible to judge that at lectures the subjects of development of the system of synchronous messages (a chat of Facebook) in which Alexey Maykov participates will be brought up (works at office Facebook in Redmond), news feeds (News Feed) in which Maxim Gubin was engaged earlier (works in Palo Alto) and the search system Facebook in which he is engaged now. In turn Roman Chadnov (also from Palo Alto) works on advertizing services of social network.

In addition to the technology party of services, as expected, at lectures subjects of student's training in Facebook will be touched.

Though the educational trip of developers of social network keeps within a paradigm of "enticement" in Facebook of the Russian programmers, developer lecturers emphasize that their duties do not include recruiting of the new personnel.

Maxim Gubin says that the only thing, than he could help the students who became interested in work in Facebook is to prompt the e-mail address for sending the summary.

Most likely, the trip is not also a preparatory activity to opening in Russia of Facebook development center about which it came during the recent visit of the founder of social network Mark Zuckerberg to Russia.

In a conversation with CNews Maxim Gubin and his colleague Alexey Maykov told that Facebook has four development centers now: in Palo Alto, Redmond, New York and in London, and they do not see signs that in the nearest future the development center will appear in Russia.

The development director of Facebook in Russia Ekaterina Skorobogatova considers that Russia in general is not selected among other countries on number of talented programmers: "We have a big country, 140 million people, and among them there are many talented programmers, but China is more, and there are more talents"[7].

Zuckerberg's arrival and his meeting with the prime minister Dmitry Medvedev, we will remind, the founder of IBS Anatoly Karachinsky criticized.

"Recently a quantity of the Russian programmers (as far as I know, those who have quite unique and rare competences and work in the excellent Russian companies) received interview invitation in Facebook with companion Tsukerberger. Those who descended, told that they offered them work and immediate evacuation to America", - he wrote on the page on Facebook.

Karachinsky was shaken by information on the forthcoming meeting of Zuckerberg with the prime minister as it gave to process of "export of brains" "a certain importance and legitimacy".

The teacher of MIPT Yury Ammosov on a question of a measure of attractiveness of foreign employers before domestic for developer students noticed that, persons interested to leave make a significant share in students though the essential share is made also by the students strongly ready to remain to work in Russia.

2011

Why Facebook has no address in Runet? Because of unwillingness to pay taxes?

For November, 2011 Facebook did not get the domain in the zone.ru though Zuckerberg's company rather actively purchases domains in other countries of presence. Such addresses as facebook.fr, facebook.vn, facebook.ca and so forth, belong to the Californian company and transport the user on facebook.com. Special attention is paid to existence of the address in those countries where own social networks are strong. So, facebook is in the Brazilian.com.br (Orkut network), the Japanese.jp (Gree, Mixi) the Dutch.nl (Hyves), the German.de (StudiVZ), the Spanish.es (Tuenti), the Polish.pl (Nasza-klasa).

It is known as well about the most expensive domain transaction of Facebook — a year ago the American agricultural association Farm Bureau received $8.5 million for fb.com, and purchase entered in top-10 the most expensive domain transactions.

Representatives of Facebook always evaded from informative comments on a registration in the zone.ru. For November, 2011 the domain facebook.ru belongs to CFT company. As reported to Marker a source in the market of domains[8], CFT wants not less than $1 million for the asset.

The lawyer Vadim Kolosov specializing in the Internet right considers that Facebook has high chances of just to seize the address from CFT. Case is in that, the expert says that for the Russian judges the key value has a time priority of registration — the domain against the company. Facebook Inc. it was issued in the legal person with the corresponding name in the summer of 2004, and CFT received the domain in May of the 2005th. Also weight has such moment as use of the domain, but there is no website on the domain facebook.ru, and the judge can decide that his owner abuses the right. For example, in 2004 Google seized google.ru from Denis Gledenov.

In the domain.ru there were no transactions for millions of dollars yet. casino.ru was the most expensive domain — it was sold for $250 thousand Koleso.ru replaced the owner for $36 thousand. The price for which the domain vodka.ru was sold officially did not appear — according to unofficial information, it was talked approximately of $20 thousand.

There is a probability that Facebook abstains from acquisition of the domain facebook.ru not because of the price and not to give an extra reason for claims of tax departments of Russia. Though Facebook places advertizing of the Russian companies since fall of 2010, the corporation has no representation here, participants of the market of Internet advertizing say. Whether to consider placement of Russian-language advertizing of the Russian goods and services on foreign servers taxable activities for the legislation of the Russian Federation?

The lawyer of Nalogovik company Marina Emelyantseva says that, proceeding from the Russian-language rules published on facebook.com, advertisers and users enter legal relationship with Facebook Ireland Limited. And with Ireland Russia has an agreement "About avoidance of double taxation concerning taxes on income". On it in case of absence of permanent mission in other state the company pays taxes only in the country, Emelyantseva continues. At the same time it is considered that there is no permanent mission if the company conducts the activity in the territory of other state through intermediaries.

Really, Facebook sells advertizing to the Russian companies through the agencies resellers, participants of the market of Internet advertizing note. Those work according to different schemes — through others, foreign resellers — partners of Facebook. Including therefore advertizing turns out expensive in comparison with the Russian competitors. Including VAT more difficult, but the question of its payment also rests against a mediation subject. For the foreign company rendering information services according to the letter explanation of UFNS of Moscow, should pay the Russian agencies as they are buyers of services, Vadim Kolosov says. The obligation for payment of the VAT becomes attached in agreements to final clients advertisers, market participants know.

"The same incident, as with Internet casino takes place. Here and it is not necessary to think out anything else: the permanent representative in the Russian Federation does not open as it is simpler and more convenient to conduct advertizing online" — Emelyantseva concludes.

Representatives of Facebook on questions of taxes were limited to the similar answer: "All advertizing which the Russian companies give on Facebook is placed via the online interface". And to adjude the domain, Facebook does not need to open representations, lawyers can be employed also without it.

9.3 million users in Russia

From January to August of the 2010th the audience of Facebook grew from 1.2 million to 4.5 million Russians, and for September 2011th already 9.3 million (data of comScore). Local VKontakte for September has 34.2 million users. With small losses to Zuckerberg not to win against domestic social networks, one of participants of the market of Internet advertizing says — still Facebook in Russia was advertized generally on barter.

In August, 2011, according to SocialBakers, the audience of Facebook social network in Russia made 4.37 million people. Russia takes the 29th place in the world by the number of users of Facebook.

Penetration of Facebook among the general population of Russia makes 3.14%, among the Russian Internet audience – 7.32%. Also analysts of SocialBakers note that in Russia female audience of Facebook is more, than men's – the ratio makes 53% against 47% for benefit of the fair sex. As for distribution by age, most of all Russian users at Facebook in category from 25 to 34 years – such 34%. 31% of users of social network belong to the category from 18 to 24 years.

2010

19% of audience of Runet use Facebook

According to the report of comScore, in 2010 only 19% of audience of Runet used Facebook network. In general penetration of social networks in Russia grew for 2010 by 21.5%, having reached 83.4%. The most devoted European audience of Facebook lives in Turkey (92.2%). On the second place Poland - 90.6%, on the third - Great Britain (87.9%). In Finland Facebook occupies 81% of all users. On average in Europe now 84.4% of users of social networks (from the general online audience).

According to comScore, by December, 2010 the Facebook network became the most popular in 15 of 18 European countries, except the Netherlands, Poland and Russia where prefer domestic social networks. Dutches prefer Hyves, Poles — Nasza-klasa, and Russians give themselves to resources VKontakte, Odnoklassniki and My World.

Purchase of the domains "Мордокнига.рф" and "Лицокнига.рф"

In December, 2010 the social network Facebook had an address in a zone. The Russian Federation - "мордокнига.рф". To one Cyrillic address of Facebook it did not begin to be limited and at the same time purchased the domain "лицокнига.рф". At input in an address bar of "мордокнига.рф" and "лицокнига.рф" there is an automatic readdressing on the domain Facebook.com.

Mark Zuckerberg calls Russia among priorities

In the summer of 2010 the founder of the portal Mark Zuckerberg designated the main directions of expansion of the company — Russia, China, South Korea, Japan.

Ekaterina Skorobogatova is a development director in Russia

In the spring the 2010th employed the development director in Russia - Ekaterina Skorobogatova. The activity of Facebook began with purchase from the Russian operators of free mobile access to the website.

2009: 478 thousand users in Russia

The Russian audience of Facebook in February, 2009 made 478 thousand people, said in the report of ComScore which appeared on April 15. It is 67 times less than 32-million audience of social network VKontakte which in design is similar to Facebook. Nevertheless, the number of registration quickly grows in the Russian Facebook. In February, 2008 in Facebook only 117 thousand Russian users were registered. Thus, in a year the audience grew by 309 percent. By the size of audience of Facebook in Runet takes only the seventh place among social networks. Except Russia, Facebook is not the largest network only of two of 16 European countries which got to a research. In Germany it the fourth in value, and in Portugal - the third. The world audience of Facebook exceeds 200 million people, it is one of the largest social networks in the world. In Europe at Facebook about hundred million users, from them over 22 million are the share of Great Britain.

2008: Beginning of russification of social network

Facebook began to be Russified in 2008.

Notes