Caricature by Apollon B. An article before censorship (left); the article after censorship (right). Iskra. 1863
Laws regulating the relations between users and social media have to be adopted in Russia after the recent actions by the US-based services, IT analyst of the Rossa Primavera News Agency Yuri Nosov said on January 10.
“Each of the social media currently has its own rules, and the administration can use them to lock the account of any person or organization on its own discretion as well as to manage users’ publications. At the same time, users have no remedies to protect their rights, because decisions are unilateral, and no third party has any grounds to interfere,” Nosov believes.
The expert assumed that in the context of global locking US President Donald Trump’s accounts in social media it has become clear that social media users need a remedy to protect their rights like those available to buyers in shops or visitors in cafes and restaurants.
“A restaurant can have certain internal rules, but still there are legal acts regulating this sector. And a restaurant cannot deny service to a person e.g. based on their views. However, this option exists in social media. No way to challenge such a decision is available,” he noted.
Legislation has been adopted in Russia to protect media from censorship in social media. The analyst of the Rossa Primavera News Agency believes that users should also have an option of state protection of their rights. State must establish equal rules for all.
“The locking of Trump’s accounts demonstrates that social media and major corporations can consolidate and use any sanctions against any person, even US president. This would be less probable if US law regulated this sector to protect regular users,” the expert believes.
Private services are now of a similar or even greater importance for freedom of expression as conventional media; therefore, the right to presence in social media and to expression in them has to be protected, especially because statements on the Internet can already be prosecuted by law.
“Since laws applying to publications in social media already exist, people now need protection from the abuse of these laws. Of course, this can be technically difficult, but social media have already become too important for our lives. It remains unclear how Russian laws can be enforced in foreign social media, but at least they could work in the Russian media,” Nosov suggested.
Source: Rossa Primavera News Agency