Mar 25, 2022 - Economy

Spotify says it is suspending services in Russia

: In this photo illustration the Spotify logo is seen displayed on a smartphone.

Photo: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Spotify announced Friday that it is suspending its services in Russia after the Kremlin passed a law cracking down on free press and speech.

Driving the news: "Unfortunately, recently enacted legislation further restricting access to information, eliminating free expression and criminalizing certain types of news puts the safety of Spotify’s employees and possibly even our listeners at risk," a Spotify spokesperson said.

  • The service is expected to be suspended in Russia by early April, according to a spokesperson.

Why it matters: News broadcasters were quick to stop broadcasting their content in the region when Russia's punitive "fake news" law was first announced. But now, social media and tech platforms are also pulling back, fearing what the law might mean for their employees and users.

  • TikTok, for example, suspended livestreaming and new content uploads in Russia in response to the law.

What they're saying: "After carefully considering our options and the current circumstances, we have come to the difficult decision to fully suspend our service in Russia," per a Spotify spokesperson.

  • "Spotify has continued to believe that it’s critically important to try to keep our service operational in Russia to provide trusted, independent news and information in the region."

The big picture: The Kremlin passed a law earlier this month that threatens to imprison journalists and individuals for up to 15 years if they publish what Moscow classifies as "fake" information about Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Axios' Scott Rosenberg reports.

  • Spotify earlier this month closed its office in Russia and removed content from Kremlin-backed media outlets, Variety reports.
  • The music streaming service also canceled its paid subscription service in Russia in response to the country's invasion of Ukraine.

Go deeper: How Putin's truth lockdown challenges the promise of an open internet

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