Russian Federation threatens to block Facebook amid crackdown on Telegram messaging service

Ann Santiago
April 19, 2018

Russia's media regulator Roskomnadzor has blocked more than 18 million Internet Protocol (IP) addresses in an effort to squeeze Telegram out of Russian Federation, the Bell news website reported late Tuesday.

The Telegram logo is seen on a screen of a smartphone in this picture illustration taken April 13, 2018. Roskomnadzor started blocking access to the messenger on Monday, after a Moscow court ruled last week that Durov was in breach of Russian law.

The ruling followed a monthslong standoff between Telegram and the Federal Security Service (FSB), which demanded access to its users' messages.

Russia's attempts to ban access to the Telegram messaging service threaten to drag USA tech giants including Alphabet and Amazon into the war with founder Pavel Durov as he turns to proxy servers to bypass the blocking measures.

The streamer said he had to use a virtual private network (VPN) and a messaging program called "Tor" in order to write a message of Twitch's website.


Zharov also mentioned that there is still no need to worry about the future and that they hope that his announcement will make the social network follow the Russian legislation.

Reuters also reported that Telegram's CEO Pavel Durov thanked companies like Apple, Google and Amazon on his personal Telegram channel for "for not taking part in political censorship", which may have prompted the block.

Writing on his Telegram channel, Durov said there had not been a significant drop in users of the service in Russian Federation since the ban took effect because users were using VPNs and proxies to access the messenger.

Telegram is reportedly using the addresses to get around the block.

What's increasingly a battle of wills between Russian Federation and the internet prompted support for Durov from Edward Snowden, the former US intelligence contractor given asylum by the Kremlin. The most widely cited tool appears to be the use of so-called VPN anonymizers, which disguise an internet user's location and allow residents of Russian Federation to access the internet as though they were overseas.

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