Russia has demanded that more than a dozen foreign tech companies, most of them American, open offices in the country by the end of this year or face sanctions and possible bans.
The country’s communications regulator Roskomnadzor issued the lawsuit on Monday, listing Apple, Google, Facebook, Twitter and TikTok among the companies it targets.
Some of them already have offices in Russia, Reuters reported, but they will also be required to register online accounts with the regulator to receive complaints from users and regulators.
Follow a new law in Russia targeting social media companies with more than 500,000 daily users that took effect in July, according to Reuters.
The news agency reported that all social media companies, and Telegram, which was also on the list, had been fined this year for failing to remove content that Russia says is illegal.
Earlier this year, Google removed a Russian tactical voting app from its online store. after staff were threatened.
Both Apple and Google had come under significant pressure from Russian regulators to block the anti-government app, devised by allies of the jailed Kremlin critic. Alexei Navalny before the country’s elections.
In February, the Russian authorities cracked down on social media companies following protests following the arrest of the opposition leader.
At the time, Roskomnadzor also announced that it was limiting citizens’ access to Twitter, accusing the American company of failing to remove thousands of posts related to drugs and pornography.
A dozen complaints were filed in a Moscow court against Telegram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok and Google accusing them of not removing content that asked teens to attend unauthorized protests.
In a statement at the time from the Kremlin, the Russian government said that Moscow had no desire to block anything, but stressed that companies must follow Russian law.
President Vladimir Putin had passed a law in 2019 that gave Roskomnadzor the authority to block social media platforms if they were deemed to have discriminated against Russia.
When the limitation took effect on Tuesday, several Russian government websites were also down, including those of the Kremlin and Roskomnadzor.
Officials said the outages were unrelated to Twitter action and were instead caused by technical problems at Rostelecom, the country’s partially publicly owned Internet provider.