Russia is trying to crack down on fake news within its own borders even as the country is under fire for interfering and spreading misinformation in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Lawmakers in Russia introduced a bill to fine companies for “inaccurate" comments users post on their platforms, reports The New York Times.
Under the proposed law, websites with user counts over 100,000 could face fines as high as $800,000 for not taking down user posts spreading fake information within 24 hours.
Critics fear that the new law, which comes as a part of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s gradual introduction of increased restrictions on internet companies, could be used to increase state power.
They fear that the truth could be interpreted in a biased manner to advance the government’s interests.
Civil libertarians point to how President TrumpDonald TrumpPredictions of disaster for Democrats aren't guarantees of midterm failure A review of President Biden's first year on border policy Hannity after Jan. 6 texted McEnany 'no more stolen election talk' in five-point plan for Trump MORE regularly uses term “fake news” for news that is critical of his administration.
Last week, Trump said that he doubted Russia’s role in U.S. election interference, despite the American intelligence community's conclusions, during a joint press conference with Putin. Trump later walked back those remarks, claiming accepted the intelligence community's conclusions, but also added that "a lot of people out there" could have been behind the hack.
Major technology companies including Facebook, Twitter and Google have all said that they believe Russian trolls used their platforms to spread hoax stories and misinformation around the time of the 2016 election.