Russia blacklists Snapchat, WhatsApp, and more in latest propaganda move

The Russian Federation has added a new collection of Western-based social media apps to its infamous Register of Prohibited Sites, including Snapchat, Telegram, and WhatsApp.

VX-Underground, a popular clandestine online library of malware, source code, and other hacker-related information, posted a memo purportedly from the Russian Federation announcing the latest blacklist of mostly Western-owned social media and online communication apps.

The blacklist applies to all Russian government affiliated organizations and state agencies.

On the list, American owned applications Discord, Microsoft Teams, Skype for Business, Snapchat, and WhatsApp.

The list also includes the European-based encrypted messaging apps Threema and Viber, as well as the Chinese owned WeChat.

Most interesting is that the federation has also added Telegram to the block list. Telegram is owned by Russian millionaire Pavel Durov, but the app is known to be favored among the West and users in Ukraine.

The Russian Law "On Information, Information Technologies and Protection" (No. 149-FZ) is part of the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media, also known as Roskomnadzor (RKN).

According to the website TAvisor, which claims to track the latest site-blocking events, since the start of 2023, RKN has blocked the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and various US Departments of State for "spreading false information."

The Shutterstock photo bank was blocked at the end of February due to the presence of "unsatisfactory materials," according to the RKN.

In February 2023, both Google and Zoom services were blocked in the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) because of so-called website malfunctions. YouTube was also downgraded to slower speeds in the DPR.

Before a site is put on the Kremlin’s official Register of Prohibited Sites, app or website owners have a month to file an appeal> If denied, they will have three days to delete the “controversial information,” or the site will be deleted, reports TAvisor.

VX-Underground, which first posted the news on Twitter, calls itself a publicly accessible repository for malware sources, samples, and papers on the internet, completely funded by donations.

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