Feb 13, 2018

Russia threatens to block YouTube and Instagram over oligarch tapes

Image courtesy of YouTube

Russia's mass communications regulator, known as Roskomnadzor, has threatened to block its citizens from accessing YouTube and Instagram over the release of videos alleging a link between the Kremlin and a Russian oligarch affiliated with Paul Manafort, reports Mother Jones.

Why it matters: Russia's internet providers don't have the ability to block specific URLs, meaning that the entire country risks losing access to the platforms if the original publishers don't take the videos down by Feb. 14.

The backdrop: Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny published a 25-minute video to YouTube Thursday that reportedly showed two men on a yacht — Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Sergey Prikhodko and oligarch Oleg Deripaska, who employed Paul Manafort in the mid-2000s — discussing US-Russia relations in the presence of female escorts. Deripaska denied Navalny's claim that it was "a secret meeting" and sued for violation of privacy.

  • Roskomnadzor has also ordered the blacklisting of six other YouTube videos and 14 Instagram posts related to the original tape. As of Tuesday, Navalny and at least one other publisher had not yet complied.
  • YouTube did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

Go deeper

Trump's big, empty beef with Twitter

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump finally acted on his now year-old threat to take action against social media platforms for alleged bias against conservatives. But so far, according to experts in both government and the industry, the threat looks mostly empty.

Driving the news: Trump escalated his war on Twitter Friday morning, tweeting repeatedly that the company needs to be regulated after it overnight added a warning label to a tweet of his calling for the military to start shooting looters, which violated Twitter’s rules against glorifying violence.

In photos: Protests over George Floyd's death grip Minneapolis

The Third Police Precinct burns in Minneapolis on Thursday night. Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Demonstrators demanding justice burned a Minneapolis police station and took control of the streets around it last night, heaving wood onto the flames, kicking down poles with surveillance cameras and torching surrounding stores.

What's happening: The crowd was protesting the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man whose life was snuffed out Tuesday by a white Minneapolis police officer who kneeled on his neck for about eight minutes.

Minneapolis mayor to Trump: “Weakness is pointing your finger” during a crisis

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey fired back at President Trump on Friday, after the president accused the mayor of weak leadership amid violence sparked by the killing of an unarmed black man by a white police officer.

Driving the news: Trump made his accusations in a pair of tweets early Friday, saying he would bring the national guard into Minneapolis if Frey couldn't “bring the City under control.”