“Given the circumstances on the ground, we have decided to suspend our service in Russia,” a spokesperson for Netflix said.
Earlier, on March 2, Netflix had announced that it is temporarily pausing all future projects and acquisitions in Russia, including those in post-production, like the detective drama Zato and three other ventures. The streaming platform also defied Russian law by not adding state-run channels to its service in the country.
Now, the streaming giant has decided to also shut down its service in the country entirely.
Meanwhile, TikTok, the Chinese-owned video-based social media platform, has suspended live streaming and new content in the country.
TikTok said in a series of tweets, on Sunday, that the safety of its employees and users is its highest priority. “In light of Russia’s new ‘fake news’ law, we have no choice but to suspend live streaming and new content to our video service while we review the safety implications of this law.”
The tweet refers to Russia’s announcement on Friday that anyone who “intentionally” writes or spreads “false” or “fake” news will face imprisonment of up to 15 years. Among other things, the Kremlin reportedly objects to calling the ongoing Ukraine invasion a ‘war’, and instead wants it to be called a ‘special military operation’.
While stating that it is limiting its service in Russia, TikTok clarified that the in-app messaging service will not be affected, and further wrote, “We will continue to evaluate the evolving circumstances in Russia to determine when we might fully resume our services with safety as our top priority.”
Soon after Russia’s announcement of the “fake news” law, several international media organisations, including the BBC, CBC, CNN, CBS News, and ABC News, also announced that they would be temporarily suspending reporting in Russia to protect their journalists from the new crackdown. The Washington Post and Reuters, on the other hand, said that they are evaluating the new law and the situation in the country.
TikTok further issued a longer statement stating that “the war in Ukraine is devastating” and has “brought pain to our community and our people.” The company also mentioned that it is committing humanitarian aid, starting with a $1 million donation, as part of its “continued dedication to assisting those most vulnerable in emergencies.”
Earlier, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, Google-owned YouTube barred Russian channels from earning ad revenue on the video streaming platform. Soon after, major Hollywood studios such as Warner Bros, Disney, Sony, Paramount Pictures, and Universal Pictures also distanced themselves from Russia and stalled the release of their films in the country.