Putin Drops the Hammer on Facebook: 'I'm Setting the Internet Free from Your Grip'
Russian president slams social media giant's 'authoritarian' control over public
Russian President Vladimir Putin has dropped the hammer on Facebook, warning that he is going to set the Internet free from the Big Tech giant's authoritarian grip.
Putin put Facebook on notice following the massive crash on Monday, that saw all of the Mark Zuckerberg-owned platforms, including Instagram and WhatsApp, go offline for several hours.
Speaking on behalf of Putin, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that the massive Internet shutdown earlier this week highlights the dangers of giving a "liberal" authoritarian California-based company control over the world’s Internet.
Russia is now preparing to make the Internet sovereign again, Putin said.
"We must understand that such a blackout can happen at any second, based on the processes that are now gaining momentum in the US," Zakharova said.
“Yesterday they showed you everything."
"We aren’t cutting ourselves off, but their technologies are failing to such a degree that three and a half billion people were cut off," Zakharova added.
Russia’s announcement of a free, sovereign internet comes just days after Putin warned Facebook that Russia would take drastic action against them if they continue refusing to remove banned content, such as child pornography, from their platform.
Russia has announced it is taking steps to assert more control over social media networks operating in the country, as well as expanding its own internet infrastructure, separate from the rest of the web, according to RT.
In recent years, Moscow has invested in the development of its domestic online infrastructure, which it is hoped would allow the country’s internet to function autonomously should a crisis arise.
In February, former President and now Deputy Chairman of Russia’s Security Council Dmitry Medvedev stated that as a drastic last resort, the country could cut off access to its servers beyond its borders, bypassing “the key rights to control” that are currently in the hands of the US.
"So potentially, it could be the case that something extraordinary happens, everything completely blows up, [and] that the key to doing something about it is held overseas,” he said.
"Of course, we have a plan of how to act in such a situation.”
Following the outage, Zakharova said that faults and shutoffs are not just about losing communication, but can lead to some losing crucial business.
"We are not just talking about the displeasure of the cats, whose owners did not publish their fantastic photos,” she said.
"This is a matter of business, and not only of the business of large companies but of the business of people who trade through these social networks, take orders there and provide services.”
Explaining the global system failure, Facebook wrote in a statement on Monday that “our engineering teams have learned that configuration changes on the backbone routers that coordinate network traffic between our data centers caused issues that interrupted this communication.”